Private v Public: do private primary schools make a difference to our kids?

For this project, researchers are working to establish the educational impact of sending children to private primary schools.

School sector effects on student achievement

This Australian Research Council Life Course Centre (LCC) project examines the impact of private schooling on primary school aged children across Australia.

Using a number of different approaches, researchers are working to establish how much of the apparent differences in student achievement between those who attend public and private schools comes from the schools themselves.

They are also exploring how much the differences in the average achievement of students between school sectors may reflect the differences in the characteristics of those who attend alternative types of schools, as well as the effects of attendance at those schools.

The differences in characteristics might be observed, in which case they can be taken into account, or unobserved, in which case they might confound the estimates of the role of observed characteristics and/or the estimates of the school sector effects.

The school sector effects might reflect teacher quality and teaching practices, differential resources and facilities, or peer group effects generated by school selection policies or parental choices.

The methodological approaches adopted in this project will provide plausible estimates of the impact of the type of school attended on apparent differences in average achievement, as well as the role of unobserved differences between those attending different types of schools.

Other LCC projects


The results from this project will allow a better understanding of the apparent 'residualisation' of children from low socio-economic status and/or other disadvantaged backgrounds in public schools, and whether interventions are necessary to attempt to reverse long-term school choice trends in Australia.