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The latest research by Dr Gary Marks was published yesterday in the Australian Journal of Education. Titled, ‘Do Catholic and independent schools “add-value” to students’ tertiary entrance performance? Evidence from longitudinal population data’, the research paper presents analysis of the academic performance of over 40,000 Victorian students. The analysis confirms that, yes, independent schools do add value – represented by an average gain of 8 ATARs over students in government schools. The gain is net of student SES, prior academic achievement, gender and language background.

According to Dr Marks’ analysis, non-government schools increase students’ tertiary entrance performance net of all unmeasured and stable differences between students, such as parental occupation and education, family income and wealth, and student intelligence, motivation and personality.

The full research paper is available (at cost) at http://aed.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/05/29/0004944115586658.abstract. However there is a free to view article by Dr Marks, summarising the main points of the research, published by The Conversation at https://theconversation.com/private-catholic-schools-do-add-value-to-students-results-42543. This article is available here.

Also available here is a media release The Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) has issued today.

The table of points made by Dr Marks in his research article and included in the media release is included below.

Dr G N Marks,Do Catholic and independent schools ‘add-value’ to students’ tertiary entrance performance? Evidence from longitudinal population data, Australian Journal of Education, DOI: 10.1177/0004944115586658
KEY
POINTS
The data set includes all students in Victoria who were in Year 9 in
2008. The analysis compares Year 9 NAPLAN data from the Victorian Department of
Education & Training and Year 12 ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank)
data from the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre.
The data analysed comprises information from over 40,000 students.
The raw unadjusted difference between independent and government schools
was 26 TEA (Tertiary Entrance Aggregate) score units. Net of socio-economic
background, Year 9 NAPLAN performance, gender and language background, this
difference was reduced to 12 TEA score units.
The raw median ATARs for students in 2011 were 59.8 for government, 70.5
for Catholic and 80.7 for independent school students.
Catholic and independent school students averaged 6 and 8 ATARs higher
than government school students, respectively, once student socio-economic
background, prior achievement in Year 9 NAPLAN, gender and language background
were taken into account.
The higher performance of students attending non-government schools
cannot be attributed to differences in the intake characteristics of each
sector’s students. Instead, increments to performance are found net of SES and
prior achievement, and net of observed and unobserved differences between
students.
Non-government schools increase students’ tertiary entrance performance
net of all unmeasured and stable differences between students, such as parental
occupation and education, family income and wealth, and student intelligence,
motivation and personality.
17 ATARs separated students who moved from the government to the
independent sector between Years 9 and 12, compared with students who remained
in the government sector. This difference is reduced to about 8 ATARs when
taking into account SES and Year 9 NAPLAN performance.
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