The impact of secondary school enrolment schemes on school desirability, academic achievement and transport.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Geographic Information Science
Parental choice in selecting schools is usually subjective and research has previously relied on the accuracy of parental surveys and opinion to identify factors that make a school desirable. This thesis used a quantitative approach to investigate the potential relationship between a secondary school's desirability and some factors that may influence parental choice. Parental choice can also have transport implications, where students travel further to school if their closest school was bypassed. Because of the potential transport implications this thesis also sought to quantify the environmental impact of students travelling further to school. To investigate this, secondary schools in Christchurch, New Zealand were utilised to test these possible relationships and transport implications.
To test the relationship between school factors and desirability, the percentage of a school's roll that came from outside of its zone was used as a proxy for desirability, with a school attracting a high proportion of its students from outside of its zone was assumed to be desirable. The out-of-zone percentage was then tested using linear regression within R against school factors, the factors tested being National Certificate of Educational Achievement results, frequency of Education Review Office reports, roll size, decile rating, and school leaver's rate. To calculate the environmental impact from parental choice, the 18,768 state secondary school student address points from the Ministry of Education March 2015 roll return data for the Greater Christchurch area, were used within ArcGIS© Network Analyst in order to calculate the distance that could be saved if each student was allocated to their closest state school instead of where they went to in March 2015.
The regression found that the second highest achievement score (Merit) rates at all three National Certificate of Education Achievement levels positively correlated with out-of-zone percentage, as did schools with a decile rating of 9. Frequency of Education Review Office reports and roll size did not significantly correlate, and the school leaver's rate negatively correlated with the out-of-zone percentage. The transport analysis found that a sum of 79,021.8km could be saved per day if each state secondary student went to their closest school, equating to a decrease of 156.6kg of CO₂ emissions per day.
The characteristics of a school that had a relationship with a school's out-of-zone percentage can be used by school's or government authorities to better understand what may attract students to schools they are not within zone for. Quantifying the distance saved if each student went to their local school highlights some of the benefits that can result from better understanding why some schools are preferred over others.