Elevers val av gymnasieskola : En experimentell studie om elevers geografiska, akademiska och sociala preferenser

Sammanfattning: Increased possibilitiesof choosing one’s school of preference hasbeen raised as a key factor in many countries to promote equal opportunitiesand higher quality of education. This has been endorsed by policymakers whoassume that students make well-informed rational choices and that students only stress academic quality whendeciding which school to attend. If this is true, it will benefit schools ofhigh academic quality, rendering improved school quality overall. To date,little research has examined the validity of these assumptions despite theprofound effects they have had for changing the school systems in manycountries. This study employs an experimental approach to investigate therelative importance of attributes in school choice. Specifically the study isbased on experimental data from 587 prospective high school students inHalmstad, Sweden. The purpose is to contrast the principal school qualityattributes behind the policy change (academic reputation and programfeasibility), with the presence of friends and geographical attributes such asdistance, location and accessibility, while controlling for individualcharacteristics. The results are disturbing as they reveal flaws in theassumptions that motivated the school choice policy reform. The study presents evidence of differencesin preferences and that grades are the most important background characteristic for this difference. The study also shows that all studentsare not rational to the same extent as theory predicts. Hence theSwedish school reforms have been based on a slightly biased theory. Finally, the study indicates that differentgeographic contexts (e.g. where the studentslive) affect students' preferences.