Sector Differences in Student Learning: Differences in Achievement Gains across School Years and during the Summer

By Carbonaro, William | Catholic Education, December 2003 | Go to article overview

Sector Differences in Student Learning: Differences in Achievement Gains across School Years and during the Summer


Carbonaro, William, Catholic Education


Public and private schools have been the focus of considerable research, comparing student achievement, attendance, dropout rates, graduation rates, disciplinary incidents, and a variety of educational and prosocial outcomes across sectors. Comparative studies of student achievement have tended to concentrate on the high school years and without any effort to measure gains or losses during specific years. This study concludes that sector differences in learning vary across grade levels and that summer learning rates vary by school sector. More study of sector differences in learning is recommended, especially longitudinal studies that examine seasonal gains across school sector over the entire span of a student's academic career.

**********

Prior studies of public and private schools have provided important insights into how school organization matters for academic outcomes (Bryk, Lee, & Holland, 1993; Coleman & Hoffer, 1987; Gamoran, 1996). Most quantitative studies of sector differences have analyzed data from two nationally representative data sets: High School and Beyond (HS&B) and the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88). Unfortunately, these data sets share some key shortcomings that limit our understanding of the relationship between school sector and student learning. First, these data sets provide a truncated record of students' academic careers that focuses exclusively on students' secondary school experiences: HS&B provides information about achievement gains from 10th through 12th grade, while NELS:88 examines gains from eighth to 12th grade. Second, neither HS&B nor NELS:88 isolate gains that occur specifically during the school year; rather, the data span multiple academic years as well as summer recesses when students are not in school. Both of these limitations in the data may distort the true relationship between school sector and student learning.

In this study, a data set that circumvents both of these limitations--the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS)--is analyzed and two key questions about school sector and student learning are addressed: (1) do sector effects on student learning vary across academic years in students' careers?, and (2) does summer learning vary across school sector, and if so, does this artificially inflate sector effects on student learning? The results indicate that (1) sector differences in learning vary across grade levels, (2) summer learning rates vary by school sector, and (3) estimates of sector differences in learning that exclude summer learning differences differ from those that include summer learning. Implications for both our substantive understanding of sector differences and future research in this area are discussed.

STUDENT LEARNING AND SCHOOL SECTOR: VARIABLE EFFECTS ACROSS GRADE LEVELS

Data sets analyzed in prior studies of school sector and student learning have two important limitations: (1) learning gains are measured late in students' academic careers, and (2) measures of student learning typically cover only a few years of the many that students spend in school. For example, in HS&B, researchers studied sector differences in student learning gains from the spring of 10th grade though the spring of 12th grade (Bryk, Lee, & Holland, 1993; Hoffer, Greeley, & Coleman, 1985). The NELS:88 data have examined sector differences in learning gains from (1) the spring of eighth grade through the spring of 12th grade (Hoffer, 1998), (2) the spring of 10th grade through the spring of 12th grade (Morgan, 2001; Morgan & Sorensen, 1999), and (3) the spring of eighth grade through the spring of 10th grade (Gamoran, 1996).

In each of these studies, sector differences in gains across these time periods were assumed to be continuous and linear. However, it is possible that achievement gains varied across academic years, and furthermore, that observed sector effects on learning differed across academic years as well. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sector Differences in Student Learning: Differences in Achievement Gains across School Years and during the Summer
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.