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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Nadia Siddiqui

Gorard, Stephen & Siddiqui, Nadia (2018). Different kinds of disadvantage and school attainment. Education Working Paper Series, 4.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper uses “effect” sizes, correlations, and a regression model to illustrate the links between different ways of assessing disadvantage at school and subsequent qualification outcomes at age 16 in England. Previous work has compared variables that represent current or recent snapshots of disadvantage with longer term summary variables and found the latter to improve measures of both segregation between schools and explanations of raw-score differences in attainment. This new work takes a more detailed longitudinal approach, modelling the course of one age cohort of 550,000 pupils through their schooling to the age of 16 in 29 distinct analytical steps. The steps represent stages such as what is known about each pupil when they were born, who they attended school with at age 10, and where they lived at age 14. The model also includes variables representing where data is missing for any pupil in any year. Using capped Key Stage 4 points as an outcome measure, these stages can predict the outcomes with R=0.90. This is considerably higher than for models using snapshots or summaries of disadvantage. Key predictors are special educational needs at age 5, and throughout schooling, coupled with prior attainment at ages 6, 10, and 13. With predictors fed into the model in life order, there is little evidence of differential progress for different language and ethnic minority groups, and no evidence of a regional difference or type of school effect. The paper concludes with the implications of these results for assessing disadvantage when considering school contexts, and for policy-makers. Given the small but apparently consistent negative school composition ‘effects’ in every year, one clear implication is that school intakes should be as mixed as possible both socially and academically.