Nova SBE Working Papers

Academic performance and territorial patterns of students with an immigrant background in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area

Author: Sílvia de Almeida, João Firmino, José Mesquita, Maria João Hortas, Luís Catela Nunes
Date: 2021
Number of pages: 38

This paper focuses on the territorial distribution of students with an immigrant background enrolled in the 3rd cycle of basic education in Portugal and on the differences in the academic performance of students enrolled in the last year of this cycle based on their birthplace and immigrant background when compared to their native peers in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. These differences are examined by estimating several linear regression models using as dependent variable three performance indicators – student’s results in the 9th grade national exams in the Maths and Portuguese Language subjects, as well as a binary indicator of a successful academic record during the 3rd cycle. The observed results confirm the hypothesis that there are significant differences in the students’ academic performance depending on their immigrant background and birthplace: (i) 2nd-generation and 1st-generation students perform worse than Native students; (ii) students from Brazil and PALOP countries have the most significant differences compared to students from Portugal. We also identify that a substantial part of these differences is already present in the end of the 2nd cycle of basic education. Furthermore, our results indicate that a considerable part of the differences is explained by factors inherent to the school and the class of the student, and not so much to the municipality, which might indicate the existence of some type of segregation experienced by these students, either at intra-municipality level (by the different schools) or intra-school level (by the different classes).

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Effects of formal home care on spousal health outcomes

Author: Judite Gonçalves, Francisco von Hafe, Luís Filipe
Date: 2021
Number of pages: 58

This study estimates the impacts of formal home care provided by paid professionals on spousal health outcomes. We use data from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe, a panel of older adults living in several European countries, and match new formal home care users to non-users to account for the endogeneity of the decision to seek formal home care. After considering underlying mechanisms, our results suggest that at least in the short run, the use of formal home care does not impact spousal physical or mental health. We also find that formal home care use increases spousal informal caregiving —along the extensive margin—, although in our sample and short time horizon, spousal informal caregiving does not seem to impact health.

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Gender gaps in different assessment systems: The role of teacher gender

Author: Catarina Angelo, Ana Balcão Reis
Date: 2022
Number of pages: 36

Previous research has identified a gender gap in the difference between teacher grading and scores on national exams at the end of secondary school. We go a step further and look at how teacher characteristics may influence this gender gap. We find that exams are relatively more favorable for boys, regardless of the teacher gender or the gender matching. Results suggest that having a male teacher tends to increase the assessment gap for all students through a greater decrease from teacher grades to exam scores, the impact being less for boys.

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No country for young kids? The effects of school starting age throughout childhood and beyond

Author: Gonçalo Lima, Luís Catela Nunes, Ana Balcão Reis, Maria do Carmo Seabra
Date: 2022
Number of pages: 55

Being the youngest in a cohort entails many penalties. Using administrative data of every public-school student in Portugal, we show that although performance gains from being 1-year older fade quickly from primary education to high school, age-related penalties persist through a combination of grade retention, educational tracking and testing policies. Those that start school younger are more likely to repeat grades and ultimately drop out from school. Older entrants are more likely to enroll in scientific curricula in high school, are more successful at accessing public higher education and enroll in more selective undergraduate courses.

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Student segregation across and within schools. The case of the Portuguese public school system

Author: João Firmino, Luís C. Nunes, Sílvia de Almeida, Susana Batista
Date: 2020
Number of pages: 62

We provide the most comprehensive description of student segregation in the Portuguese public school system to date, a system that exhibits interesting institutional features potentially linked with the student segregation issue (e.g. school catchment areas, course tracking, and almost no central regulations regarding class composition). The analysis uses the entire regular student population enrolled in all public schools of continental Portugal (grades 1 to 12, from 2006/07 to 2016/17). Looking at three segregation dimensions – economic, academic, and immigrant – at both between and within-school levels, and using a novel dissimilarity index recently proposed in the literature aimed at better capturing systematic segregation, we find that segregation, on median, is mild, across time, grades, and regions. The most important exception is the case of within-school academic segregation. During upper-secondary schooling, in particular, when students are divided across classes according to own course-tracking decisions, it doubles. Moreover, within-school academic segregation estimates have the largest interquartile ranges, within a given year, grade, or region, pointing to heterogeneity in the way different schools set up classes internally in terms of students’ academic characteristics. Academic and economic segregation are positively associated, at both between and within school levels. The Portuguese segregation insights are also compared to those from other geographies.

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