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Performance assessment of upper secondary schools in Italian regions using a circular pseudo-Malmquist index

Ana S. Camanho, Luisa Varriale, Flávia Barbosa and Thiago Sobral

European Journal of Operational Research, 2021, vol. 289, issue 3, 1188-1208

Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between students’ performance and the type of school attended during upper secondary education. The performance of three different types of schools (Liceo, Technical and Professional schools) in four Italian macroregions (North West, North East, Centre, South & Islands) is investigated. A benchmarking analysis of the variability in students’ performance among regions (within macroregions) for cohorts of students attending Liceo is also conducted. The data was collected at the student level from the Italian Institute for the Evaluation of Education System (INVALSI), for the academic year 2017/18. Families with higher socio-economic status may self-select into Liceo, so a direct comparison with vocational schools could lead to biased conclusions regarding the impact of school type on student performance. To overcome this limitation, we used a Propensity Score Matching approach prior to the estimation of efficiency. A pseudo-Malmquist index, based on a metafrontier and satisfying the circular property, is developed. It enables comparing the location of the best-practice frontier for each type of school and the spread in the educational efficiency of the students attending each type of school. Thus, best performance of a given school type corresponds to the combined effect of these two aspects. This study is an interesting starting point to challenge the stereotypes that persist in Italy, especially concerning general and vocational studies and geographic differences in educational achievements.

Keywords: Data Envelopment Analysis; pseudo Malmquist Index; School Performance Assessment; Upper secondary education; General and vocational education; Propensity score matching (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2020.07.050

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:289:y:2021:i:3:p:1188-1208