Assessing the evolution of school performance and value-added: trends over four years

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Ana Camanho
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This paper explores the changes in value added (VA) of a sample of schools for cohorts of students finishing secondary education between 2005 and 2008. VA estimates are based on distance measures obtained from DEA models. These measures are computed for each pupil in each school, and evaluate the distance between the school frontier in a given year and a pooled frontier comprising all schools analysed. The school VA is then computed by aggregating the VA scores for the cohort of pupils attending that school in a given year. The ratio between VA estimates for two consecutive cohorts, that attended the school in different years, is taken as the index of VA change. However, the evolution of school performance over time should consider not only the movements of the school frontier, but should also take into account other effects, such as the proximity of the students to the best-practices, represented by the school frontier, observed over time. For that purpose we developed an enhanced Malmquist index to evaluate the evolution of school performance over time. One of the components of the Malmquist index proposed measures VA change, and the other measures the ability of all school students to move closer to their own school best practices over time. The approach developed is applied to a sample of Portuguese secondary schools.