Diversity, choice and the quasi-market: An empirical analysis of secondary education policy in England
This paper investigates the extent to which exam performance at the end of compulsory education has been affected by three major education reforms: the introduction of a quasimarket following the Education Reform Act (1988); the specialist schools initiative introduced in 1994; and the Excellence in Cities programme introduced in 1999. We use panel data for all state-funded secondary schools in England over 1992-2006. Using a panel of schools for all state-funded secondary schools in England (1992-2006), we find that about one-third of the improvement in school exam scores is directly attributable to the combined effect of the education reforms. The distributional consequences of the policy, however, are estimated to have been favourable, with the greatest gains being achieved by schools with the highest proportion of pupils from poor families.
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