An evaluation of school admission policy reform in Indonesia: Improving equity, reducing learning?

Crawford School of Public Policy
Abdul Rahman on Flickr

Event details

ACDE Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 06 April 2021


Online via Zoom


Daniel Suryadarma, Asian Development Bank Institute

Education systems globally have implemented school choice policies with the stated objective of improving equity. We study the impacts of change in a city-wide choice policy that sought to advance equity by broadening access for lower-testing students to public junior high schools in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This policy change implemented in 2018 shifted the admissions focus away from test scores to distance from a student’s neighbourhood to the school. We find that this policy greatly improved equity in access. The share of public school students who scored below median on the mathematics grade 6 leaving exam increased from 35 to 47 per cent, and the average grade 6 exam scores of students enrolled in public schools declined by 0.3 standard deviations. However, learning also declined significantly. Two years after the policy was first implemented, overall learning in grade 8 mathematics declined by 0.2 standard deviations. While lower-scoring students new to public schools benefited from this policy, learning among this group was eclipsed by the decline in learning among all other student groups. Value-added of public schools declined across the full distribution of grade 6 exam scores, although it was still higher than that of private schools. The effect on value-added varied by school and was independent from the size of the change in student composition, demonstrating that some public schools were better able to adapt to a change in their student composition than others.

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