Higher-degree research being undertaken by Jorge Rojas




Professor Tony Welch

Thesis title:

Persistent inequality: the Chilean voucher system and its impacts on socio-economic segregation and quality of education.



Project description

The school effectiveness literature, like much research in education is restricted, having been largely constructed in, and applied to, the most developed countries. It is important to know more about equity and quality of education in developing countries in order to test, and perhaps modify, a body of theory that has been constructed mainly by, and in, the developed world.

The research project has a mix method approach. The first part of the project was based on a large quantitative data analysis using a Hierarchical Linear Model (HLM) with two-levels. Level-1 is composed by student characteristics and level-2 by schools features. From this methodology and particular methods, I will examine the following (1) the actual variance allocated on student intakes and school level variables over student math achievement (2) the differential impacts of effectiveness considering the student and aggregated SES characteristics (3) the influence of schooling policy variables on math achievement under an analysis of SES compositional impacts. These results will help in the selection of interesting case studies as follows

The second part of the research deployed a qualitative approach that was interested in two aspects of school functioning; how schools can achieve good academic results in disadvantaged contexts and how they respond to accountability pressure. To accomplish these objectives the research took 3 carefully selected case studies, and conducted 25 semi-structure interviews to principals and teachers in order to understand the process (the dynamics) of those schools classified as effective. This part of the research is crucial to initiate a grounded theory from data that exemplify school achievement in contexts of disadvantages and accountability.

Thus while its findings could have a significant impact on any educational system that incorporates market principles and competition, knowing more about how successful schools in a developing country work effectively with the disadvantaged context of their pupils will extend the applicability of school effectiveness theory since it will highlight effective educational practices in vulnerable contexts with disadvantaged students.

Jorge Rojas is an academic in the Department of Education at the University of Conception, Chile. He obtained his Degree of Sociology in 2004 and received his Masters Social Research in 2008. His current position at the University of Conception allowed him to obtain a scholarship from the Chilean government to undertake doctoral studies abroad.


  • 2012-present BecasChile Scholarship for Ph.D. Studies Abroad. CONICYT, Chilean Government.
  • 2015 Thomas T. Roberts Education Fellowship for 2015
  • 2015 Trevor Miller Memorial Fund

Journal articles

  • Rojas Bravo, Jorge (2013). Clima escolar y tipolog'a docentes: La violencia escolar en las prácticas educativas [School environment and teacher typology: School violence on educational practices]. Cuadernos de Investigación Educativa Vol, 4, N 19, pp., 87-104, Instituto de Educación, Universidad ORT Uruguay.

Conference presentations