No. 919: Parents know better: primary school choice and student achievement in London
Marco Ovidi ,
Queen Mary University of London
January 6, 2021
Expanding parental choice in education may increase system-wide productivity if parents select schools that form a speciﬁcally good match with their children. I investigate the eﬀect of attending a preferred school on student achievement in London primary schools. I exploit as good as random variation in admission to preferred schools arising from centralised assignment which awards school oﬀer based on admission priority, residential distance, and parental preference. I compare students around year-speciﬁc catchment boundaries that cannot be exactly anticipated by parents. I ﬁnd that attending the school of choice increases student achievement compared to an institution with lower parental preference but same value-added. Results suggest that parents select schools that are speciﬁcally eﬀective in increasing their children’s achievement, improving the eﬃciency of school seats allocation. I show that parents of low-ability males select schools with lower peer quality and these likely better suit their learning needs.
J.E.L classification codes: H75, I21, I24, I28
Keywords:School choice, School eﬀectiveness, Centralised assignment, Deferred acceptance