Going beyond classrooms and schools - institutional influences on student achievement : how do institutional aspects of complex educational systems affect student learning?

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The main objective of this dissertation is to provide evidence for whether system organization and management matter for student learning (test score gains). Better managed and better structured systems facilitate teaching and learning by creating appropriate conditions for teachers and students (Bloom et al., 2015; Di Liberto, Schivardi, and Sulis, 2015; Lavy and Boiko, 2017). In large federal countries, such as Brazil and the United States, the relationship between providers of public education and federal units is also vital to creating effective educational systems. My main analytical exercises look at the differences in student learning, as measured by test score gains, when students are exposed to different management practices in educational systems. By tracking the same student academic progress over time but in two different public education systems, I show parallel educational systems -- municipal and state, in the Brazilian case -- may create unequal learning opportunities for students. I also show that different degrees of educational policy alignment between providers of public education, state and municipal system in the Brazilian case, may affect the differences in test scores -- both in level and yearly gains -- of students attending each system. Higher degrees of policy alignment correspond to smaller differences in achievement of students within the same territory but in different educational systems. Additionally, I show that a portion of student achievement gains may be attributed to mid-level management structures within educational institutions and that higher results could be systematically related to better management practices. Chapter 2 main goal is to evaluate the potential gain and costs in student scholastic achievement of changing educational systems during a student's academic trajectory. It contributes to the understanding of how sharing responsibility for the provision of public education between two levels of government (state and municipal governments) within a federalist state may influence student learning. The main findings show the estimates of the impact of changing educational systems during a student's academic trajectory in her or his test scores. The hypothesis tested is whether the existence of two public parallel educational systems within the same territory lead to different opportunities for students depending on which school system they attend. The results suggest that municipal systems in São Paulo are, on average, lower performers than the state system. This finding leads to the second paper, which looks at the differences in achievement within the later educational system. The main goal of chapter 3 is to establish whether higher degrees of educational policy alignment between competing/cooperating educational systems can account for differences in student achievement between these systems. Based on the textual analysis of the municipal long-term plans for education (Plano Municipal de Educação) and comparing these plans to the state-level long-term plan, I estimate whether greater alignment between state and municipal administrations may diminish the achievement gap between state and municipal schools' students. Using text analysis and topic modeling, I find that, in most cases, greater similarity in the long-term plans is associated with smaller differences in test scores or gains between students enrolled in municipal and states schools within the same territory. Chapter 4 aims to establish whether mid-level management is indeed relevant to the development of effective educational policies and schooling quality, especially in centralized systems, such as states in Brazil. In this paper I estimate the value added by each of the 91 state regional offices of education in São Paulo in order to explain, at least partially, the differences in achievement within the state system. The findings of this paper show that state regional offices do influence student achievement and do so differently for state and municipal schools. I gather qualitative evidence from the regional administrative offices using the World Management Survey (WMS) framework to assess the differences in management practices between high-performance and low-performance regional offices. Two managerial areas are markedly different between high- and low-performing regional offices: targeting, meaning the decision making related to what schools to provide more support to, and role assignment, that is related to personnel organization within the teams in the regional offices. In both cases, high performing offices tend to present better scores and more autonomous decision making related to these areas. Additionally, the qualitative analysis shows that high performing offices had better understanding of the pedagogical situation of their schools and act according to these diagnostics, while low performing ones as excessively dependent on the central office support and diagnostics


Type of resource text
Form electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
Extent 1 online resource
Place California
Place [Stanford, California]
Publisher [Stanford University]
Copyright date 2020; ©2020
Publication date 2020; 2020
Issuance monographic
Language English


Author Recch Franca Guimaraes, Filipe Recch Franca
Degree supervisor Carnoy, Martin
Degree supervisor Plank, David Nathan, 1954-
Thesis advisor Carnoy, Martin
Thesis advisor Plank, David Nathan, 1954-
Thesis advisor Bloom, Nick, 1973-
Thesis advisor Fouka, Vasiliki
Degree committee member Bloom, Nick, 1973-
Degree committee member Fouka, Vasiliki
Associated with Stanford University, Graduate School of Education.


Genre Theses
Genre Text

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Filipe Recch
Note Submitted to the Graduate School of Education
Thesis Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2020
Location electronic resource

Access conditions

© 2020 by Filipe Recch Franca Recch Franca Guimaraes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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