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CEE/Education and skills discussion paper
School Quality, Child Wellbeing and Parents Satisfaction
Stephen Gibbons and Olmo Silva
January 2009
Paper No' CEEDP0103:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I20;H75;Z0

Tags: school quality; wellbeing; happiness and satisfaction; subjective measures

Researchers in economics of education usually assume that parents choose schools for their high academic performance, with some support from revealed preference evidence based on local house prices. However, anecdotal evidence and common sense suggest that school quality is not one-dimensional and that parents and children are concerned about other school factors related to pupil wellbeing. In this paper we consider whether parental notions of school quality are based on academic standards, and whether these notions are aligned with the wellbeing of the children. To do so, we use direct information on stated perceptions in the Longitudinal Survey of Young People in England (LSYPE) matched to UK administrative records on pupil achievements. Our results suggest that test score based measures of school quality tend to dominate parents’ perceptions of educational excellence. However, school quality along this dimension is not strongly associated with pupil happiness and enjoyment of the learning environment.