School Quality and Student Achievement: Evidence from the Centralized School Placement System in Kenya
Issac Mbiti

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Southern Methodist University

Primary Discipline

I utilize data from the Kenyan secondary school system to obtain causal estimates of the effects of school quality on student achievement. Whereas most studies on the effects of school quality on student achievement generally face difficulties in obtaining unbiased estimates due to the non-random selection of students into schools, the placement of students into government secondary schools in Kenya is based on national primary schools test scores and district quotas. I utilize the random variation induced by this system to isolate the treatment effect of school quality on subsequent student performance in the national high school examination. Using a unique data set containing high school test scores, primary school test scores, district of origin and school level information for every high school exam taker in the country, I compare the high school examination outcomes of students who had very similar primary school test scores but were assigned to different schools due to the placement system. I explore plausible mechanisms that underlie this relationship, especially the potential role of peer effects and school inputs such as teachers and facilities.
About Issac Mbiti

Pin It on Pinterest