Title: What sort of school sorts students?

Authors: Ryan Bosworth

Addresses: Department of Applied Economics, Utah State University, Logan UT 84322-3530, USA

Abstract: Richly detailed data from the North Carolina public school system is used to investigate the extent to which student assignment to 4th and 5th grade classrooms appear unbalanced with respect to race, gender, socioeconomic status, and academic achievement in the years 2001-2004. Analysis reveals that classrooms are rarely unbalanced with respect to racial and gender characteristics. However, classrooms that are unbalanced with respect to socio-economic status, academic achievement, and parental education levels are relatively more common. The relationship between unbalanced classroom assignment and school financial, administrative, socio-economic, and geographic characteristics is also analysed. Analysis shows that unbalanced classrooms are statistically more common in school districts with higher levels of federal funding, urban schools that are predominantly African-American, and in magnet schools. However, unbalanced classrooms are less common in academically successful schools with few black students, in rural schools that are predominantly white, and in Wake County.

Keywords: classroom composition; educational production; federal funding; education funding; USA; United States; race; gender; socioeconomic status; academic achievement; US public schools; parental education levels; unbalanced classrooms.

DOI: 10.1504/IJQRE.2013.055639

International Journal of Quantitative Research in Education, 2013 Vol.1 No.1, pp.20 - 38

Available online: 29 Jul 2013 *

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