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- The effects of school choice on student achievement, school practices, and segregation : evidence from Seoul's School Choice Program
- Kim, Young Ran (Graduate of Michigan State University)
- Electronic Theses & Dissertations
This study seeks to understand how reforms driven by market principles, such as school choice, competition, and autonomy, affect student achievement, school administrative and curricular practices, and segregation by analyzing a school choice program in Seoul, South Korea (hereafter referred to as Korea). Korea provides a unique opportunity to examine the effects of market-based reforms because of a recent policy transition from strong governmental control to a universal school choice program...
Show moreThis study seeks to understand how reforms driven by market principles, such as school choice, competition, and autonomy, affect student achievement, school administrative and curricular practices, and segregation by analyzing a school choice program in Seoul, South Korea (hereafter referred to as Korea). Korea provides a unique opportunity to examine the effects of market-based reforms because of a recent policy transition from strong governmental control to a universal school choice program. In order to guarantee equal educational opportunities, the government adopted the Equalization Policy in 1974 to equalize many aspects of private and public schooling. Due to a high level of governmental control and limited school choice, market and educational consumers have exerted limited influence over the Korean education system. However, recently, the Seoul Local Education Authority (LEA) adopted a school choice program that significantly increased market influence by allowing school choice and by converting some of its high schools into autonomous schools that have greater flexibility in school curriculum and school operations.This study explores how these attempts have affected Seoul’s student achievement, school practices, and segregation. The effect of school choice on student achievement is identified using a comparative interrupted time series analysis (CITS) and Difference-in-Differences (DD) that rely on comparisons of test-score changes between Seoul and Incheon, a neighboring city that already had a school choice policy in place. Students’ scores in English and Korean on the College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT) from 1994 to 2015 were utilized for these analyses. Study results indicate that the Seoul school choice policy has no significant effects on achievement in English and Korean.In addition, this study analyzes how market-based reforms affect school practices by examining how autonomous private high schools change their administrative and curricular practices when subjected to greater market influences. Specifically, this study uses seven-year panel data on school administration collected by the Korean Ministry of Education to examine the ways that autonomous private high schools changed their practices in expenditures, curriculum, and personnel. In order to isolate practice changes induced by the reform from those induced by other social and economic factors, we utilized a DD design that compares the changes within autonomous private high schools to the contemporaneous variation in traditional private high schools that are arguably less affected by the reform. This study found evidence suggesting that the reform significantly increased autonomous private schools’ per-pupil spending, expenditures for educational activities and after-school programs, and the number of after-school programs. In addition, results suggest that autonomous private schools allocated their instructional time away from social studies and toward Korean and math. Furthermore, this study found that autonomous private schools hired teachers with fewer years of teaching experience. Finally, this study explores how Seoul’ school choice policy affects student segregation by achievement and socioeconomic status across different types of schools and school districts. Results show that the policy significantly increased segregation across different types of schools without reducing segregation across districts.