School Quality and Student Achievement in Kenya

Isaac Mbiti, Southern Methodist University

I utilize data from the Kenyan secondary school system to obtain causal estimates of the effects of school quality on student achievement. Whereas most studies on the effects of school quality on student achievement generally face difficulties in obtaining unbiased estimates due to the non-random selection of students into schools, the placement of students into government secondary schools in Kenya is based on national primary schools test scores and district quotas. Using a unique data set containing high school and primary school test scores, district of origin and school level information for every high school exam taker in the country, I compare the high school examination outcomes of students from the same district who had very similar primary school test scores but were assigned to different schools due to the quota. I extend the analysis to examine whether peer effects or school inputs have a greater effect on student performance.

  See extended abstract

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