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  1. The Importance of Education Quality Ariel Fiszbein Chief Economist, Human Development Network World Bank Brussels, June 24, 2008

  2. 1. Education quality is about children learning

  3. It’s about children learning... • Education quality means that enough learning takes place in schools: we often assume it but…. • Why should we care about learning outcomes? • Because individual returns to education are linked to learning, not just to years of education • Because the overall economy benefits from quality education

  4. Returns to cognitive skills (literacy) are generally strong across countries

  5. Estimated Returns to Cognitive Skills: Examples • Three studies conducted in the U.S. show a 12% increase in earnings for every 1 SD increase in math scores. (Mulligan,1999; Murnane et al, 2000; Lazear, 2003) • Chilean data shows that 1 SD increase in test scores on the IALS is associated with higher earnings of 15-20%. (Sakellariou, 2006)

  6. Education Quality and Economic Growth Hanushek and Woessman, 2007

  7. 2. But learning outcomes in developing countries are poor

  8. Reading and Math Performance on the OECD PISA Exams, 2000-2003 WB Global Monitoring Report, 2007

  9. Many children do not attain minimum learning levels WB Global Monitoring Report, 2007

  10. 0% 0% 2% 6% 18% 29% 45% Colombia Student performance in mathematics:What it means? 6% 18% 28% 27% 14% 5% 1% PISA, 2006 Finland

  11. Can Indian children read? • 41% of children in class 5 cannot read at class 2 level • 22% of children in class 2 cannot recognize words • 58% of children in class 5 cannot divide (3 digit by 1 digit) 2007 Annual Survey of Education Report (Rural), Pratham

  12. What are children in Pakistan (Punjab) learning? LEAPS Data - Punjab, Pakistan 2007

  13. 3. The policy challenge is to identify how to improve learning outcomes

  14. The policy challenge: • What are the levers to improve learning outcomes? • A variety of factors can potentially influence learning outcomes: households, schools, environment…. • But we often can’t tell because of lack of rigorous evidence

  15. A ‘general’ theory of what influences learning outcomes Vegas and Petrow. “Raising Student Learning in Latin America: The Challenge for the 21st Century”. 2008.

  16. Examples of interventions… • Student/parent behavior & endowments: Early childhood development • School endowments: Textbooks, technology • Teacher endowments and behaviors: Salary incentives linked to performance, Capacity building • School behaviors: School councils, non-government provision Given large inequalities in endowments, a key role of all interventions is to promote equality of educational opportunity

  17. Early childhood interventions payoff later in life (including at school) • Colombia: increased child height (approx 2.4 cm/child), increased school attendance when in high-school (20 percentage points) • US (Perry Preschool Project): At age 40 participants had 1/3 higher earnings, more likely to be employed, less arrests, etc. • Uruguay: 27% higher school attendance by age 16 Sources: Attanasio and Vera-Hernandez(2004), Schweinhart (2005), Berlinski, Galiani, and Manacorda (2006)

  18. Inputs and pedagogical change can have effects but it is unclear how context specific they are… • Textbooks: No impact on test scores in Kenya • IT: Computers with math games in primary schools in India had 0.47 SD increase in math test scores • Remedial education in India, 0.14 SD increase in test scores in year 1, 0.28 SD increase in year 2. Sources: (Glewwe, Kremer, and Moulin, 2003) and (Banerjee et al, 2006)

  19. Affecting teachers can be a powerful instrument • Simply adding more teachers (w/o changing level of effort) does not help. • Kenya: Students of contract teachers score .18 SD higher than students taught by civil service teachers • India (AP): Monetary incentives to teachers increased test scores by 0.15 SD; more inputs to schools (extra teacher, block grant for school supply needs) only by 0.09 SD Duflo, Dupas, and Kremer (2007); Muralidharan and Sundararaman (2006)

  20. Institutional factors: Does decentralization ‘work’? • Argentina: decentralization to provincial governments, with little vertical or horizontal accountability • Improve test scores in relatively wealthier areas, but made the poor worse off • Improvement in ‘well-run’ provinces, badly-run provinces worse off Sebastian Galiani, Ernesto Schargrodsky, Paul Gertler (2005)

  21. Institutional factors: Does community participation work? • Mexico: School-based management initiative in rural, disadvantaged schools reduced repetition and failure • Pakistan: School councils did not affect learning outcomes, but study only captured year-1 effects. • India: information campaign on education outcomes improved teacher attendance and learning outcomes. Sources: Gertler, Patrinos, and Rubio (2006), Das (2008) and Pandey, (2008)

  22. Institutional factors: Do non-government schools work? • Pakistan: Children in private schools are 1.5-2.5 years ahead of children in government schools in terms of learning, controlling for child, household and school characteristics (Das, et al. LEAPS, 2007) • Bogotá: New, privately run, schools in poor, urban neighborhoods reduced dropout rates by 1.7 percentage points and improved test scores in math and reading by 0.19 SD and 0.27 SD, respectively (Barrera, 2006)

  23. 4. An Agenda for Education Quality

  24. An Agenda for Education Quality • More systematic measurement of learning outcomes • International assessments • National assessments • No silver bullet: results likely to need actions to influence students/parents, teachers and schools –and the right inputs! • Strong links with broader economic policies • Evidence-based policy: evaluation of reform programs is key • Political economy: who cares?

  25. Who cares about quality? Prime Minister: Education in this country is a disaster. We're supposed to prepare children for work. Most of the time they're bored stiff. Sir Humphrey: I should've thought that being bored stiff was an excellent preparation for work. (Yes, Prime Minister! BBC television series)

  26. END

  27. Teacher (non) effort…

  28. Percent of countries that carried out at least one assessment between 1995-1999 and 2000-2006 UNESCO, GMR 2008