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Multilevel modeling of the effect of bullying on absenteeism and performance in Saudi schools

Bennour, Khaled (2021): Multilevel modeling of the effect of bullying on absenteeism and performance in Saudi schools.

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This study explores the role of bullying in Saudi schools to explain absenteeism, gender-gap and between-school variation in mathematics achievement. Using the 2015 Trends in the International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) dataset, the mathematics achievement scores and questionnaire responses of 4337 fourth-graders from 189 single-sex schools are analyzed. A multilevel linear modeling is employed; the results indicate that the level of student bullying and the average bullying score for that student’s school have a limited but significant impact on the risk of the student missing school. We highlight the potential role of bullying in explaining girls’ advantage in mathematics. The bullying level in a school is largely more predictive of the school mathematics achievement than measures of home background of students. All these findings demonstrate the need to tackle the bullying phenomenon in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the most afflicted all-boys schools, to reduce variation in performance between schools, decrease significantly the gender difference with regard to mathematics, and improve the overall attainment of Saudi schools and students.

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