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Statistical modeling of the impact of academic environments on student’s beliefs and achievement in Chile

Abstract : This PhD thesis is dedicated to the statistical modeling of the impact of academic environments on student’s beliefs and achievement in Chile. We contribute to the field of educational effectiveness with a statistical discussion regarding how to combine multilevel models with methods for selection bias and missing data and two empirical studies. The statistical discussion was used to take methodological decisions in the empirical studies. The first empirical study evaluates the impact of science courses on students’ beliefs. The second empirical study is about school effects on students’ trajectories in mathematics and reading scores. In the statistical part, we analyze linear adjustment and propensity score matching to address selection bias. Regarding the missing data problem, we considered multiple imputation techniques. Each of these methods is compatible with multilevel models. However, the problem of addressing selection bias and missing data simultaneously with hierarchical data is not resolved. We present a statistical discussion that classifies and analyzes strategies to combine the methods. The first empirical study regards the influence of Life and Non-life science courses in secondary students’ epistemic and self-efficacy beliefs related to sciences. We compared students that took summer science courses with a control group in a post and follow-up beliefs questionnaire. We found positive effects of Life courses and courses with laboratory work, controlling for confounding variables. The results show differences between Life and Non-life scientific disciplines that should be explored. The second empirical study concerns school effects on trajectories of Chilean students. It has two aims. The first aim is to describe the characteristics of the trajectories in mathematics and reading scores and the variation explained by primary and secondary schools. The second aim is to measure the effect of public schools in comparison with voucher schools on students’ trajectories in mathematics and reading scores. We used a longitudinal national database which included measures for the same students at 4th, 8th and 10th grade. Multilevel growth models were used to model the trajectories. We found effects of secondary and primary schools on intercepts and slopes. In addition, we found negative effects from public education, which became not significant after controlling for school’ socioeconomic composition and selection practices. The results illustrate the stratification between the public system and voucher system and the need to study inside each system which schools are more efficient.
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Valentina Giaconi Smoje. Statistical modeling of the impact of academic environments on student’s beliefs and achievement in Chile. Education. Université Grenoble Alpes; Universidad de Chile. Facultad de ciencias físicas y matemáticas, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016GREAH040⟩. ⟨tel-01691600⟩

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