University of Hawaii at Manoa and East-West Center (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 5238-5254
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
The 1966 US government publication “Equality of Educational Opportunity” spurred a long and ongoing debate when it suggested that additional school resources do not contribute to student achievement. However, the same kind of attention has not been extended to tertiary education for at least three reasons. First, primary and secondary levels of education are compulsory, but not tertiary education. Second, the operational level of employment in the labor market begins with a high school diploma discouraging entry of some individuals into institutions of higher learning. Third, there is no unified dataset that includes all the relevant covariates that impact student achievement possibly creating omitted variable bias that generates inflated resource coefficients.

This research aims to fill the gap in the school resources-student achievement literature by simultaneously investigating the relative impacts of individual, family, and household characteristics, and college resources and characteristics on various forms of student achievement at the tertiary level by merging two US datasets--the National Longitudinal Survey of the Youth 1979 (NLSY79) Geocode Supplement and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. The merging of these two datasets allows the matching of individuals in the NLSY79 survey to the actual schools they attended. Thus, this unified dataset does not only make possible a comprehensive assessment of institutional resource efficiency in various forms and levels while controlling for individual and family characteristics, but also allows for the estimation of unbiased resource coefficients.

Furthermore, a more detailed individual decision process is explored. While most tertiary-level studies of the achievement impact of school resources concentrate on attendance and completion, it should be recognized that an individual faces a longer timeline between these two decision nodes when the individual makes a recurring persistence decision. Thus, three aspects of college achievement—attendance, persistence, and completion—are investigated. As important, we also assess the impact of three categories of school resources: real classroom, financial, and other resources.

The random effects probit econometric methodology is used in recognition of the fact that the student achievement decisions are dynamic in nature. The endogeneity problem associated with school resources that arise from students choosing the colleges they attend based on certain observed and unobserved characteristics of the individual, the family, and the school is also considered by utilizing the Two-Stage Least Squares regression technique.

Preliminary results obtained indicate the importance of individual and family characteristics in affecting student achievement and also reveals that teacher-pupil ratio and per-pupil expenditure are significant in affecting students’ college persistence and completion. For instance, an increase in 1 faculty for every 100 students is expected to yield a rise of 2-3 percentage points and 6-8 percentage points in persistence and completion probabilities, respectively, while a 10 percent increase in per-student expenditure is estimated to cause an increase of 0.7-0.8 and 0.7-1 percentage point/s in persistence and completion probabilities, respectively. These results suggest that resources should not be treated as instant short-term solutions to the long-term process of achieving student success in college.
achievement, completion, endogenous, multiple indicator solution, instrumental variables, omitted.