Long-Run Trends in School Productivity: Evidence From Australia
AbstractOutside the United States (U.S.), very little is known about long-run trends in school productivity. We present new evidence using two data series from Australia, where comparable tests are available back to the 1960s. For young teenagers (aged 13-14), we find a small but statistically significant fall in numeracy over the period 1964- 2003, and in both literacy and numeracy over the period 1975-1998. The decline is in the order of one-tenth to one-fifth of a standard deviation. Adjusting this decline for changes in student demographics does not affect this conclusion; if anything, the decline appears to be more acute. The available evidence also suggests that any changes in student attitudes, school violence, and television viewing are unlikely to have had a major impact on test scores. Real per-child school expenditure increased substantially over this period, implying a fall in school productivity. Although we cannot account for all the phenomena that might have affected school productivity, we identify a number of plausible explanations.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 618.
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
education production function; literacy; numeracy;
Other versions of this item:
- Andrew Leigh & Chris Ryan, 2011. "Long-Run Trends in School Productivity: Evidence from Australia," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 105-135, January.
- H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
- I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
- I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-10-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-EDU-2009-10-03 (Education)
- NEP-EFF-2009-10-03 (Efficiency & Productivity)
- NEP-LAB-2009-10-03 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-URE-2009-10-03 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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