Social stratification and out of school learning

To study effects of out-of-school learning we use data on boarding home pupils who attended elementary public schools in the 1940’s. The out-of-school environment at the boarding homes could be considered being more learner friendly than the home environment on average: the pupils at the boarding homes had daily scheduled time for doing their homework under assistance of a junior school teacher and, in addition, they had access to a small library. The placement at boarding homes was based on the distance to the nearest school and had, thus, no direct connection to pupils’ skills which simplifies the empirical analysis based on register data. We find that the more learning friendly environment equalize skills at school leaving age. The effect is larger for kids with low initial ability.

Introduction: We study the importance of out-of-school environment for scholastic achievement using data on boarding home pupils, born between 1932 and 1941, who attended elementary public schools close to the boarding homes. Furthermore we study effects on the choice of higher education and labor market outcomes. The boarding home pupils had daily scheduled time for doing their homework under the assistance of a qualified teacher as well as access to a small library. The out-of-school environment for boarded children could, on average, be considered as a more learning friendly than the home environ-ment. This study is closely related to the “summer gap” literature (see e.g Heyns (1978), Cooper et al. (1996), Fryer and Levitt (2004), Entwisle et al. (2007) and Lindahl (2007)). In this literature, the effects of out-of-school environment on scholastic achievements is studied by making use of the gap in between semester (spring-fall) difference in test scores.The general finding is that the test score gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils widens during the summer (between semesters) and that schooling (within semesters) compensates pupils from disadvantageous family backgrounds.

Author: Christian Andersson,Per Johansson

Source: Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation

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