High achieving students are better off in worse schools

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The Converstation: High achieving students are better off in worse schools

By Josephine Lethbridge

“There is an assumption that children perform better amongst highly achieving peers. High class achievement might be thought to indicate better teaching, or to induce academic competition between students. However, new research counters this common assumption.

Felix Weinhardt and Richard Murphy, from the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics, analysed administrative data of over 2.3 million English schoolchildren. This data was used to assess how primary school rank affected later exam results. Pupils were compared on leaving primary school at KS2 (aged 11) and at secondary school KS3 (aged 14).

Imagine two primary school pupils of a the same ability. One is at the top of a class, whereas the other is in the middle, at a better performing school. The results find that the first student performs better at secondary…

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