The findings indicate increasing the number of private schools ultimately raises a nation’s standard of living.
“An increased share of private schooling within a country can increase the quality of education experienced by students through increased competitive pressures, specialization, and an improved match between educator and student,” researchers from the University of Arkansas (UArk) College of Education Reform wrote in January.
In their paper, titled “Does Private Schooling Improve International Test Scores? An Instrumental Variables Fixed Effects Analysis of the Impact of Private Schooling on PISA Scores,” researchers analyzed the effect of private schooling on Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores in 62 countries from 2000 to 2012. PISA is a test 15-year-old students in member states across the world take to assess their mastery of mathematics, reading, and science.
“We find evidence to suggest that increased private schooling leads to improved PISA scores around the world,” the authors of the UArk paper wrote. “Specifically, our preferred model finds that a ten percentage point increase in the private share of schooling enrollment is associated with a 28 percent standard deviation increase in math, a 24 percent standard deviation increase in reading, and an 18 percent standard deviation increase in science.”
‘Pretty Huge’ Findings
Corey DeAngelis, a distinguished doctoral fellow in UArk’s Department of Education Reform and coauthor of the paper, says the study shows countries can improve their economic and social conditions by fostering the growth of private schools.
“This is pretty huge as far as this type of research is concerned,” DeAngelis said. “PISA scores are one measure of the competitiveness of a country or a society overall. What we do is take 62 countries over a decade and compare them to themselves over time. We find when the share of private schools increases within a country over time, their PISA scores increase as well, by a quarter of a standard deviation, which is pretty large.”
Private Schooling Lifetime Effects
M. Danish Shakeel, a doctoral academy fellow at UArk’s Department of Education Reform and another coauthor of the paper, says the effects of private schooling go far beyond test scores.
“One of the things we found was, on average, if a country is able to increase its share of private schooling, then we should expect its cognitive scores in both math and reading to go up,” Shakeel said. “If you connect this to economic outcomes, it can raise a person’s well-being overall, and society’s especially. And if an individual realizes these learning gains, [he or she] would have 13 percent more lifetime earnings, or approximately $150,000.”
Kenneth Artz ([email protected]) writes from Dallas, Texas.
Corey A. DeAngelis and M. Danish Shakeel, “Does Private Schooling Improve International Test Scores? An Instrumental Variables Fixed Effects Analysis of the Impact of Private Schooling on PISA Scores,” Working Paper Series, University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions, January 23, 2017: https://heartland.org/publications-resources/publications/does-private-schooling-improve-international-test-scores