Measuring Primary and Secondary School Characteristics: A Group-Based Modeling Approach

Andrew Halpern-Manners, University of Minnesota
John R. Warren, University of Minnesota

In this paper we introduce a new way to evaluate the educational resources that young people encounter as they make their way from kindergarten to high school graduation. Using recent methodological advances in group-based modeling and a unique data set, we empirically test for and identify a series of categorically distinct “school quality” trajectories. The results show that these trajectories vary significantly in terms of their shape and slope, their prevalence within the sampled population, and in the sociodemographic makeup of their constituent members. We conclude by offering some initial thoughts on how this approach can be used to assess dependencies between school characteristics, educational outcomes, and occupational attainment across the life-course.

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Presented in Session 43: School and Teacher Quality: Levels and Distribution