nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2018‒09‒24
six papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Who Needs Special Education Professional Development?: International Trends from TALIS 2013 By North Cooc
  2. The Math War between traditional and “realistic” mathematics education and its research. An analysis in institutional economics on research on education in arithmetic and algebra, with a focus on long term memory of pupils and using a causal model for valid testing on competence By Colignatus, Thomas
  3. “Post-Truth” Schooling and Marketized Education: Explaining the Decline in Sweden’s School Quality By Henrekson, Magnus; Wennström, Johan
  4. Teaching students with special needs: Are teachers well-prepared? By Pablo Fraser
  5. Risk-Sharing in Higher Education: A Policy Proposal By Webber, Douglas A.
  6. Personality traits as an engine of knowledge: A quantile regression approach By Polemis, Michael

  1. By: North Cooc (University of Texas)
    Abstract: Although access to formal education has improved internationally for children with disabilities, concerns remain about education quality for this student population. Using data on 121 173 teachers from 38 countries in the 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), this study examined the qualifications and professional development (PD) needs of teachers who work with children with special needs. The results indicate that teachers responsible for students with special needs had, on average, lower qualifications, worked in itinerant positions more frequently and expressed greater professional development need than colleagues who did not teach students with special needs. The need for professional development among teachers who taught special needs students was lowest in schools with greater instructional leadership. Additionally, only a small percentage of teachers reported that their professional development had a positive impact on their instruction. The paper discusses policy implications for teacher recruitment and designing professional development.
    Date: 2018–09–24
  2. By: Colignatus, Thomas
    Abstract: Institutional economics investigates how institutions affect empirical events. The term "institution" can be taken widely, and may also represent engrained mental conceptions by organised groups of actors. There is a curious but counterproductive combination of three groups also at universities in Holland w.r.t. research on education in arithmetic and algebra: (1) adherents of "realistic" mathematics education, an ideology that compares to astrology or homeopathy, (2) traditional mathematicians, who have no expertise on the empirical science of didactics of mathematics either, (3) psychometricians, who look at statistical data but who have no expertise on the empirical science of didactics of mathematics either. This combination needs deconstruction and the present paper focuses on (3), though with influence from (1) and (2). Some psychometricians seem to have a sound dislike of both the ideologues from (1) and the discussion between (1) and (2), but they are less aware that (2) are ideologues too. Some psychometricians also throw away the child with the bathwater by disregarding (4) the proper science of didactics of mathematics. Measuring competence in arithmetic and algebra requires consideration of long term memory of students. What you learn in elementary school tends to stay with you for the rest of your life. What you learn in highschool has the property of "use it or lose it". Algebra in highschool requires competence in the traditional algorithms of arithmetic, best learned in elementary school. "Realistic" mathematics education has reduced the competence of students at elementary school which affects them not only for algebra in highschool but also for the rest of their lives in both arithmetic and algebra. Inadequate testing by psychometricians allows this detrimental state to continue. The paper presents a causal model that identifies the engrained mental conceptions by psychometricians and where they would have to accept insights from didactics of mathematics. There is also a role for the Dutch Academy of Sciences KNAW that supported an inadequate report in 2009.
    Keywords: education; elementary; mathematics; arithmetic; highschool; algebra; economics; memory; training; skill; ability; human capital policy; human development; capacity formation; lifecycle skill formation; software; ICT; computer algebra; textbook publishing; learning; teaching; efficacy; regulation; policy evaluation; Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact; methodology and didactics;
    JEL: D02 I20 O17 P16
    Date: 2018–09–04
  3. By: Henrekson, Magnus (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Wennström, Johan (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: The Swedish school system suffers from profound problems with teacher recruitment and retention, knowledge decline, and grade inflation. Absenteeism is high, and psychiatric disorders have risen sharply among Swedish pupils in the last ten years. In this pioneering analysis of the consequences of combining institutionalized social constructivism with extensive marketization of education, we suggest that these problems regarding school quality are to no small extent a result of the Swedish school system’s unlikely combination of a postmodern view of truth and knowledge, the ensuing pedagogy of child-centered discovery, and market principles. Our study adds to the findings from previous attempts to study the effects of social-constructivist pedagogy in nonmarket contexts and yields the implication that caution is necessary for countries, notably the U.S., that have a tradition of social-constructivist practices in their education systems and are considering implementing or expanding market-based school reforms.
    Keywords: For-profit schools; Marketized education; School choice; Social constructivism; Voucher system
    JEL: H42 H44 H75 I22 I28 L88
    Date: 2018–09–10
  4. By: Pablo Fraser
    Abstract: The teacher workforce could be better prepared to cater to the learning needs of special needs students. The low percentage of teachers reporting a positive impact from their professional development signals that there is more to be done regarding the quality of the training offered in special needs education. Also, allocating more experienced and trained teachers to high-need classrooms, and providing continuous support to teachers and schools, can improve the quality of learning experiences of special needs students. This is important to ensure equal learning opportunities for all children and to create the conditions necessary for students with special needs to succeed.
    Date: 2018–09–24
  5. By: Webber, Douglas A. (Temple University)
    Abstract: As concerns over growing levels of student loan debt continue to mount for both students and taxpayers, many have called for an improved accountability system in the U.S. higher education system. In this policy brief, I discuss the many flaws in our current system, and outline how a system known as “risk-sharing” could drastically improve incentives and outcomes. I present a framework for how risk-sharing could be structured, and illustrate the distributional impacts (both positive and negative) across the higher education landscape.
    Keywords: higher education, accountability, risk sharing
    JEL: I2 I22 I23 I28
    Date: 2018–09
  6. By: Polemis, Michael
    Abstract: We use a unique micro-level data set to investigate the impact of personality traits on education. To the best of our knowledge this is the first study shedding light on the contribution of each of the Big Five personality traits on the education decision made by the individuals. Our findings, uncover a significant effect of non-cognitive skills on the level of education. Specifically, we argue that the estimated signs of the non-cognitive skills remain stable across the quantiles. It is shown that people with high emotional stability invest in human capital. Lastly, our model survived robustness checks under the inclusion of two aggregated higher-order factors.
    Keywords: Non-cognitive skills; Big Five personality traits; Education, Quantiles
    JEL: C31 I21 I24
    Date: 2018–07–31

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