nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒11‒14
eight papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. How Good Am I? Effects and Mechanisms behind Salient Ranks By Megalokonomou, Rigissa; Zhang, Yi
  2. New Evidence on Learning Trajectories in a Low-Income Setting By Bau,Natalie; Das,Jishnu; Yi Chang,Andres
  3. Do Large-Scale Student Assessments Really Capture Cognitive Skills ? By De Hoyos Navarro,Rafael E.; Estrada,Ricardo; Vargas Mancera,Maria Jose
  4. Incentives for Mayors to Improve Learning : Evidence from state reforms in Ceará, Brazil By Lautharte Junior,Ildo Jose; de Oliveira,Victor Hugo; Loureiro,Andre
  5. Does College Selectivity Reduce Obesity? A Partial Identification Approach By Brunello, Giorgio; Christelis, Dimitris; Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna; Terskaya, Anastasia
  6. Financial literacy, numeracy and schooling: evidence from developed countries By Sara Lamboglia; Massimiliano Stacchini
  7. Traditional and progressive orientations to teaching: new empirical evidence on an old debate By Sam Sims; John Jerrim
  8. "The Double Dividend of Training" – Labor Market Effects of Work-Related Continuous Education in Switzerland By Denzler, Stefan; Ruhose, Jens; Wolter, Stefan C.

  1. By: Megalokonomou, Rigissa (University of Queensland); Zhang, Yi (University of Queensland)
    Abstract: How can individuals respond to their ordinal ranking when they are not aware of it? We present evidence on the effects and mechanisms of achievement rank effects in middle schools when ranks are salient to students and their parents. For identification, we rely on the random assignment of students (and teachers) to classrooms in China. That is, students with the same baseline test scores end up having different achievement ranks in their assigned classroom. We find positive and large effects of being assigned a higher rank on subsequent performance, especially for males and overconfident students. We show that students with higher ranks spend more hours on autonomic studying. What drives these effects is still an open question, especially when ranks are salient to both students and their parents. Using rich survey data, we show that these academic gains are not only mediated through (1) students' higher self-perception and higher subject learning confidence, but also through (2) better parental understanding of their child's ranks, stricter parental requirements for their child's study, and higher parental expectations regarding their child's educational attainment and career prospects. We show that these two channels make similar contributions to explaining salient rank effects, and when combined they explain 46.80% of the increase in test scores. We find no impact on teachers' investment or attention to students as a result of rank effects.
    Keywords: achievement rank, saliance, quasi-random classroom assignment, mechanisms, survey data, middle schools, mediation analysis
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2022–09
  2. By: Bau,Natalie; Das,Jishnu; Yi Chang,Andres
    Abstract: Using a unique longitudinal data set collected from primary school students in Pakistan, this paper documents four new facts about learning in low-income countries. First, children’s test scores increase by 1.19 standard deviation between Grades 3 and 6. Second, going to school is associated with greater learning. Children who drop out have the same test score gains prior to dropping out as those who do not but experience no improvements after dropping out. Third, there is significant variation in test score gains across students, but test scores converge over the primary schooling years. Students with initially low test scores gain more than those with initially high scores, even after accounting for mean reversion. Fourth, conditional on past test scores, household characteristics explain little of the variation in learning. To reconcile the findings with the literature, the paper introduces the concept of “fragile learning,†where progression may be followed by stagnation or reversals. The implications of these results are discussed in the context of several ongoing debates in the literature on education in low- and middle-income countries.
    Keywords: Educational Sciences,Education Finance,Economics of Education,Adolescent Health,Gender and Development,Crime and Society
    Date: 2021–03–25
  3. By: De Hoyos Navarro,Rafael E.; Estrada,Ricardo; Vargas Mancera,Maria Jose
    Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between test scores and cognitive skills using two longitudinal data sets that track student performance on a national standardized exam in grades 6, 9, and 12 and post-secondary school outcomes in Mexico. Using a large sample of twins, the analysis finds that primary school test scores are a strong predictor of secondary education outcomes and that this association is mainly driven by the relationship between test scores and cognitive skills, as opposed to family background and other general skills. Using a data set that links results in the national standardized test to later outcomes, the paper finds that secondary school test scores predict university enrollment and hourly wages. These results indicate that, despite their limitations, large-scale student assessments can capture the skills they are meant to measure and can therefore be used to monitor learning in education systems.
    Keywords: Educational Sciences,Labor Markets,Rural Labor Markets,Education For All,Education for Development (superceded),Educational Populations,Educational Institutions&Facilities,Effective Schools and Teachers
    Date: 2021–02–04
  4. By: Lautharte Junior,Ildo Jose; de Oliveira,Victor Hugo; Loureiro,Andre
    Abstract: Financial incentives for students, teachers, and schools are often used to promote learning. Yet, little is known about whether similar incentives for mayors produce analogous findings. This paper investigates this question by exploring a results-based financing reform in Ceará, Brazil, which redistributes state resources to municipalities based on education performance. Comparing schools on both sides of Ceará's border over key implementation periods, the paper shows that ninth grade students who were exposed to the results-based financing performed 0.15 standard deviation higher on mathematics and language tests. These impacts increase twofold when Ceará offers technical assistance to municipalities (pedagogical and managerial) and become significant for fifth graders. These gains are seen among students in the top performance quantiles, but reformulating the results-based financing rule to penalize municipalities with more low performers significantly reduces learning gaps. The paper discuss several mechanisms: the selection of school principals, teacher training, the provision and quality of textbooks, curriculum coverage, and school homework.
    Keywords: Educational Sciences,Financial Sector Policy,Education for Development (superceded),Educational Policy and Planning - Textbook,Educational Populations,Education For All,Educational Institutions&Facilities,Effective Schools and Teachers
    Date: 2021–01–15
  5. By: Brunello, Giorgio (University of Padova); Christelis, Dimitris (University of Naples Federico II); Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna (Universidad de Alicante); Terskaya, Anastasia (University of Navarra)
    Abstract: We use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to investigate whether the quality of tertiary education -measured by college selectivity- causally affects obesity prevalence in the medium run (by age 24-34) and in the longer run (about 10 years later). We use partial identification methods, which allow us, while relying on weak assumptions, to overcome the potential endogeneity of college selectivity as well as the potential violation of the stable unit treatment value assumption due to students interacting with each other, and to obtain informative identification regions for the average treatment effect of college selectivity on obesity. We find that attending a more selective college causally reduces obesity, both in the medium and in the longer run. We provide evidence that the mechanisms through which the impact of college selectivity on obesity operates include an increase in income, a reduction in physical inactivity and in the consumption of fast food and sweetened drinks.
    Keywords: obesity, college selectivity, partial identification
    JEL: I14 I12 I26 C14
    Date: 2022–09
  6. By: Sara Lamboglia (Bank of Italy); Massimiliano Stacchini (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: Financial literacy is low among young people and their uninformed choices may have costly and long-lasting consequences. This paper uses information on approximately 52,000 fifteen-year-old students participating in the 2018 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to provide fresh evidence on two drivers for youth financial skills: maths skills and students’ exposure to financial education at school. Our results are threefold. First, mathematical skills have a positive impact on financial skills, and to a greater extent than reading skills. Second, an extension based on the 2012 wave of PISA suggests that the transfer of competences from mathematics to financial literacy can be enhanced when teaching strategies focus more on stimulating “cognitive activation†. Third, we show how the percentage of students having the chance to receive financial education at school varies widely across countries, and how having such an opportunity positively influences financial achievements.
    Keywords: Financial literacy, Schooling, PISA 2018
    JEL: G53 H52
    Date: 2022–10
  7. By: Sam Sims (UCL Centre for Education Policy & Equalising Opportunities); John Jerrim (UCL Social Research Institute)
    Abstract: Traditionalists argue that teachers should carefully sequence the best knowledge from their subject area and deliver it directly to the whole class. Progressives argue that teachers should instead facilitate pupils' exploration of their individual interests, thereby nurturing curiosity and thinking skills. We test these claims using fixed effect models applied to data on 1,223 pupils (age 11-14) in the German National Educational Panel Study. We find few links between pupil outcomes and their teachers' orientation. The one exception is that - contrary to progressive claims - pupils develop greater interest in learning when taught by teachers with a traditionalist orientation.
    Keywords: traditional teaching; progressive teaching; meta-cognition
    Date: 2022–10
  8. By: Denzler, Stefan (Swiss Co-ordination Center for Research in Education); Ruhose, Jens (University of Kiel); Wolter, Stefan C. (University of Bern)
    Abstract: This paper presents the first longitudinal estimates of the effect of work-related training on labor market outcomes in Switzerland. Using a novel dataset that links official census data on adult education to longitudinal register data on labor market outcomes, we apply a regression-adjusted matched difference-in-differences approach with entropy balancing to account for selection bias and sorting on gains. We find that training participation increases yearly earnings and reduces the risk of unemployment two years after the treatment. However, the effects are heterogeneous as to gender, age, education, and regional labor market context. The gains are highest for middle-aged men with formal vocational education working in either depressed or booming labor markets.
    Keywords: continuous education, wages, unemployment, entropy balancing, Switzerland
    JEL: I21 I26 J24 M53
    Date: 2022–10

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