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The effect of formal teacher education on reading achievement of 3rd-grade students in public and independent schools in Sweden

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This study investigates the influence of teacher competence on 3rd-grade students' reading achievement in public and independent schools in Sweden. The data come from the Swedish participation in PIRLS 2001 (Progress in Reading Literacy Study 2001) and comprise some 10,000 students. Students in independent schools achieved better on the reading test than did students in public schools, but when parents' education was controlled for, the effect on students' achievement of school type disappeared. Teacher certification for teaching in the early grades had a strong effect on students' mean reading test scores in both school types, while no significant effects of teacher experience, age, gender, in-service training or cooperation could be established. Though school type had no influence of itself, it was a mediating factor for both parents' education and teachers' education. These effects, however, worked in opposite directions.
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Keywords: Independent schools; Public schools; Social selection; Teacher competence; Voucher systems

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Gothenburg University, Sweden

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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