Ensaio: Avaliação e Políticas Públicas em Educação
On-line version ISSN 1809-4465
SOARES, Jose Francisco and ANDRADE, Renato Júdice de. Socioeconomic status, quality and equity in the schools of Belo Horizonte. Ensaio: aval.pol.públ.Educ. [online]. 2006, vol.14, n.50, pp. 107-125. ISSN 1809-4465. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-40362006000100008.
The family, societal structure and the school are the most important factors in explaining the cognitive performance of basic education pupils. The way of measuring these factors has been greatly influenced with the popularization of two new statistical techniques: Item Response Theory (IRT) and regression models for hierarchical data. In this article we present three different ways to characterize the school; its position based on IRT using information supplied by the pupils, measures of quality and measures of equity using hierarchical models. The data employed is comprised of information from the socioeconomic questionnaire and measures of cognitive performance of pupils from those schools of Belo Horizonte participating in SIMAVE 2002 and the UFMG entrance exams for 2002, 2003 and 2004. Using a model in which the effect of socioeconomic background on pupil performance is controlled for, the analysis of the quality of schools in Belo Horizonte allows an optimistic view of reality. As the result of their policies and pedagogy, some public and private schools manage to make a difference to the performance of their pupils even when they are socially disadvantaged. On the other hand, the Belo Horizonte system of basic education is only capable of producing quality in the presence of high inequality. Although access is guaranteed, only a few finish basic education with a level of performance that could be considered adequate.
Keywords : Socioeconomic background; School effect; System assessment.