nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒04‒20
nine papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The Relative Effectiveness of Teachers and Learning Software: Evidence from a Field Experiment in El Salvador By Konstantin Büchel; Martina Jakob; Christoph Kühnhanss; Daniel Steffen; Aymo Brunetti
  2. Conditioning: How background variables can influence PISA scores By Laura Zieger; John Jerrim; Jake Anders; Nikki Shure
  3. The Learning Challenge in the 21st Century By Patrinos,Harry Anthony
  4. Providing academic opportunities to vulnerable adolescents: a randomized evaluation of privately managed tuition-free middle schools in Uruguay By Ana Balsa; Alejandro Cid; Ana Laura Zardo
  5. On the Factors Influencing the Choices of Weekly Telecommuting Frequencies of Post-secondary Students in Toronto By Khandker Nurul Habib; Ph. D.; PEng
  6. Perseverance, Passion, and Poverty: Examining the association between grit and reading achievement in high-poverty schools By Heleen Hofmeyr
  7. Teacher Content Knowledge in Developing Countries: Evidence from a Math Assessment in El Salvador By Aymo Brunetti; Konstantin Buechel; Martina Jakob; Ben Jann; Christoph Kuehnhanss; Daniel Steffen
  8. Do we need to be educated to have Green concerns? By Magali Jaoul-Grammare; Anne Stenger
  9. Effects of public-school choice on private schools: Evidence from open enrollment reform By Cohn, Ricardo Meilman

  1. By: Konstantin Büchel; Martina Jakob; Christoph Kühnhanss; Daniel Steffen; Aymo Brunetti
    Abstract: This study provides novel evidence on the relative effectiveness of computer-assisted learning (CAL) software and traditional teaching. Based on a randomized controlled trial in Salvadoran primary schools, we evaluate three interventions that aim to improve learning outcomes in mathematics: (i) teacher-led classes, (ii) CAL classes monitored by a technical supervisor, and (iii) CAL classes instructed by a teacher. As all three interventions involve the same amount of additional mathematics lessons, we can directly compare the productivity of the three teaching methods. CAL lessons lead to larger improvements in students' mathematics skills than traditional teacher-centered classes. In addition, teachers add little to the effectiveness of learning software. Overall, our results highlight the value of CAL approaches in an environment with poorly qualified teachers.
    Keywords: computer-assisted learning, productivity in education, primary education, teacher content knowledge
    JEL: C93 I21 J24 O15
    Date: 2020–04–08
  2. By: Laura Zieger (Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University College London); John Jerrim (Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University College London); Jake Anders (Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, University College London); Nikki Shure (Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University College London)
    Abstract: The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international large-scale assessment which examines the educational achievement of 15-year-old students across the world. It has long become one of the key studies for evidence-based education policymaking across the globe. As result, PISA results and the methodology that they are based on should be robust, open and transparent. Yet, PISA receives significant criticism for its scaling model and the opaqueness in communicating it. One particular point of concern is the so-called "conditioning model", where background variables are used in the derivation of student achievement scores. The aim of this paper is to investigate this part of the scaling model and the impact it has upon the final scores. This includes varying the background variables of the conditioning model systematically and analysing the impact that this has on multiple measures. Our key finding is that the exact specification of the conditioning model matters and has substantial impact on average scores in some of the minor PISA domains (namely reading). It also has a major impact upon cross-national comparisons of educational inequality.
    Keywords: PISA, conditioning model, research transparency, scaling model, cross-national comparison, educational performance, educational inequality, test scores
    JEL: C10 C18 C55 I20 I21 I24
    Date: 2020–04
  3. By: Patrinos,Harry Anthony
    Abstract: Truth matters, and the norms associated with a democratic society, such as the common good, responsibility, ethics, and civic engagement, are under attack with the emergence of the post-truth society. There are concerns worldwide that public education is failing us on pushing back on disinformation. And, in most countries, education systems are not providing workers with the skills necessary to compete in today's job markets. The growing mismatch between demand and supply of skills holds back economic growth and undermines opportunity. At same time, the financial returns to schooling are high in most countries. Schooling remains a good economic and social investment, and there are record numbers of children in school today. The skills that matter in the coming technological revolution are likely the same as what is needed in a media environment of disinformation. More and better education and noncognitive skills will not only prepare students for the future world of work, they will also prepare them to navigate the increasingly complex post-truth society. They will also allow young people to gain trust. In other words, better education is democratizing, to the extent that it promotes truth, values, and civic engagement.
    Date: 2020–04–13
  4. By: Ana Balsa; Alejandro Cid; Ana Laura Zardo
    Abstract: We conducted a randomized evaluation of three privately managed middle schools in Uruguay aimed at providing education opportunities to adolescents from low income socioeconomic status. At 3-year follow-up, treatment students fare better in terms of academic promotion and school retention. Students in treatment schools, present also better mental health, as represented by lower rates of internalizing behaviors and social problems than students in the control group. In addition to tutoring and other learning strategies reported in previous qualitative analyses of these schools, our findings suggest that a culture of high expectations, a caring and disciplined school climate, and parental involvement in the school could account for some of the observed differences in academic trajectories and mental health.
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Khandker Nurul Habib; Ph. D.; PEng
    Abstract: The paper presents an empirical investigation of telecommuting frequency choices by post-secondary students in Toronto. It uses a dataset collected through a large-scale travel survey conducted on post-secondary students of four major universities in Toronto and it employs multiple alternative econometric modelling techniques for the empirical investigation. Results contribute on two fronts. Firstly, it presents empirical investigations of factors affecting telecommuting frequency choices of post-secondary students that are rare in literature. Secondly, it identifies better a performing econometric modelling technique for modelling telecommuting frequency choices. Empirical investigation clearly reveals that telecommuting for school related activities is prevalent among post-secondary students in Toronto. Around 80 percent of 0.18 million of the post-secondary students of the region, who make roughly 36,000 trips per day, also telecommute at least once a week. Considering that large numbers of students need to spend a long time travelling from home to campus with around 33 percent spending more than two hours a day on travelling, telecommuting has potential to enhance their quality of life. Empirical investigations reveal that car ownership and living farther from the campus have similar positive effects on the choice of higher frequency of telecommuting. Students who use a bicycle for regular travel are least likely to telecommute, compared to those using transit or a private car.
    Date: 2020–04
  6. By: Heleen Hofmeyr (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: This paper examines whether school characteristics moderate the association between grit and reading achievement in a sample of Grade 6 learners in high-poverty contexts. The analysis makes use of data from 2,383 learners distributed across 60 township and rural schools in three provinces of South Africa. Indicators of school functionality are used to split the sample of schools into three groups (low, medium, and high functionality) and separate models of reading achievement are estimated for each group. The econometric analysis points to evidence of variation in the association between grit and reading achievement by school functionality, with a stronger association estimated for learners in more functional schools. The major contributions of this paper are as follows: Firstly, this paper is one of only a handful of studies that estimate the relationship between grit and academic achievement in a middle- income country, and the first to estimate this relationship among primary school learners in an African context. Second, the results provide empirical evidence in support of the hypothesis that school characteristics interact with non-cognitive skills to produce learning outcomes, a relationship that has received scant attention in the literature to date.
    Keywords: Socio-emotional skills, grit, perseverance, school poverty
    JEL: I20 I24 I29
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Aymo Brunetti; Konstantin Buechel; Martina Jakob; Ben Jann; Christoph Kuehnhanss; Daniel Steffen
    Abstract: Education is one of the key resources in the fight against poverty. While substantial progress has been made in terms of school enrollment, evidence suggests that educational quality is still alarmingly low in many developing countries. Various explanations have been suggested, but one very obvious factor in the educational production function has received surprisingly little attention: the content knowledge of teachers. For this study, we administered an exam-type assessment to a representative sample of 224 primary school teachers in Morazan, El Salvador. The average teacher scored 47% correct answers on 50 questions covering the offcial math curriculum for second to sixth graders. Overall, our results point to an even more worrying situation than suggested by previous findings based on indirect measures of content-related teacher skills in several African countries.
    Keywords: teacher content knowledge, quality of education, primary education, El Salvador
    JEL: I21 I25 J24 O15
    Date: 2020–03
  8. By: Magali Jaoul-Grammare; Anne Stenger
    Abstract: In the Unesco’s report (2014), an essential role is given to education in the preservation of the environment, by improving understanding on environment deterioration or modifying individuals’ behaviors. Indeed, many papers analyzed the importance of education on environmental sensitivity. However, they generally focus on only one environmental concern. The originality of our study is that it takes into account a large range of green concerns. We lead an exploratory analysis in order to try to answer to the following problematic: what are the effects of educational level and socio demographic characteristics on various green concerns? Preliminary results tend to confirm and highlight some relationships between education and environmental concerns. We especially underline that the more educated, the more open to global issues like biodiversity or climate change issues.
    Keywords: Education, Environmental concerns, socio demographic characteristics.
    JEL: C38 I20 Q53 Q54
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Cohn, Ricardo Meilman
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of a policy-induced increase in public school competition on private school enrollment and budget outcomes. I exploit a natural experiment created by the introduction of an open enrollment policy that expanded public school choice opportunities and increased competitive pressure on private schools. Using a new data set constructed from mandatory nonprofit information returns and school enrollment records, I find that an increase in public school competition reduces private school enrollment. Secular and Catholic school enrollment is most responsive to increased public school choice, whereas other Christian and other faith schools experience no reduction in enrollment. The negative enrollment effects are concentrated among high school age students. I find no evidence that private schools respond to this increased public school choice by adjusting their revenue and spending choices
    Keywords: school choice,school competition,open enrollment,private schools
    Date: 2020

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