Single-parent family forms and children's educational performance in a comparative perspective: effects of school's share of single-parent families

M. de Lange*, J. Dronkers, M.H.J. Wolbers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Web of Science)


Living in a single-parent family is negatively related with children's educational performance compared to living with 2 biological parents. In this article, we aim to find out to what extent the context of the school's share of single-parent families affects this negative relationship. We use pooled data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), that is, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2000 and 2003, which contain information on 209,300 students at 11,887 schools in 25 countries. We found that attending a school with more children from single-parent families affects the educational performance of all children negatively, but it particularly harms children from single-mother families. Furthermore, we have indications that in countries in which the number of single-parent families is higher, the negative effect of attending a school with a higher share of single-parent families decreases, except for the US.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-350
Number of pages22
JournalSchool Effectiveness and School Improvement
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • single-parent family
  • educational performance
  • cross-national comparison
  • PISA data
  • WORK

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