The aim of this paper is to analyze the efficiency of Italian schools. The basic idea is to view the schools as productive units which use multiple inputs to generate an output (educational achievement). To investigate the determinants and the degree of school efficiency, we propose the use of frontier analysis techniques, more precisely, a parametric stochastic distance function (SFA). We try to model the educational process including a set of school inputs relative to materials and non materials goods and some exogenous variables, called environmental factors or non discretionary input, as the socio economic background and the presence of immigrant students. The environmental variables are outside the decision making power of schools but they can heavily influence their technical efficiency. The results provide insights into how school inputs impact on the educational results and how the environmental factors may influence the efficiency levels.
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