Segregation among schools, effects of student body composition, and inequalities in scholastic performance
What segregates schools from each other are differences in student body composition by school, and these may be analyzed from various points of view. Here the focus is on composition effects ; that is, influence of the overall characteristics of the pupil set in a given school on each of that school’s pupils. Following a review of the methodology required for valid assessment of this type of effect, a new empirical research study of effects of scholastic and socio-cultural composition of schools in French-speaking Belgium is presented. We then discuss possible means of determining institutional conditions likely to produce a given composition effect. The analysis is aimed primarily at accounting for the presence of student body composition effects in quasi-market educational systems characterized by school choice and highly autonomous schools.