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Do Differences in School's Instruction Time Explain International Achievement Gaps in Maths, Science and Language? Evidence from Developed and Developing Countries

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  • Victor Lavy

Abstract

There are large differences across countries in instructional time in schooling institutions. Can these differences explain some of the differences across countries in pupils' achievements in different subjects? What is the likely impact of changes in instructional time? While research in recent years provides convincing evidence about the effect of several inputs in the education production function, there is limited evidence on the effect of classroom instructional time. Such evidence is of policy relevance in many countries, and it became very concrete recently as President Barrack Obama announced the goal of extending the school week and year as a central objective in his proposed education reform for the US. In this paper, I estimate the effects of instructional time on students' academic achievement in math, science and language. I estimate linear and non-linear instructional time effects controlling for unobserved heterogeneity of both pupils and schools. The evidence from a sample of 15 year olds from over fifty countries that participated in PISA 2006 consistently shows that instructional time has a positive and significant effect on test scores. The effect is large relative to the standard deviation of the within pupil test score distribution. The OLS results are highly biased upward but the within student estimates are very similar across groups of developed and middle-income countries. However, the estimated effect of instructional time in the sample of developing countries is much lower than the effect size in the developed countries. Several checks for threats of identification support the causal interpretation of this evidence. I obtain very similar results when I use as an alternative data from primary and middle schools in Israel and a somewhat different identification strategy. Finally, I also explore some correlations that suggest that suggest that the productivity of instructional time is higher in countries that implemented s

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File URL: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp118.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0118.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0118

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Web page: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/publications.htm

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  1. Sandra McNally & Stephen Machin, 2004. "The Literacy Hour," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 43, Royal Economic Society.
  2. Thomas J. Kane & Jonah E. Rockoff & Douglas O. Staiger, 2006. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 12155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lisa Barrow & Lisa Markham & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2007. "Technology’s edge: the educational benefits of computer-aided instruction," Working Paper Series WP-07-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Lavy, Victor & Schlosser, Analia, 2004. "Targeted Remedial Education for Underperforming Teenagers: Costs and Benefits," CEPR Discussion Papers 4381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Eide, Eric & Showalter, Mark H., 1998. "The effect of school quality on student performance: A quantile regression approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 345-350, March.
  6. Goodman, Joshua, 2012. "The Labor of Division: Returns to Compulsory Math Coursework," Working Paper Series rwp12-032, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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Cited by:
  1. Kikuchi, Nobuyoshi, 2014. "The effect of instructional time reduction on educational attainment: Evidence from the Japanese curriculum standards revision," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 17-41.
  2. Meyer, Tobias & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2012. "How Important is Secondary School Duration for Post-school Education Decisions? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-509, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  3. Cortes, Kalena & Goodman, Joshua & Nomi, Takako, 2013. "Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra," Working Paper Series rwp13-009, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Metzler, Johannes & Woessmann, Ludger, 2010. "The Impact of Teacher Subject Knowledge on Student Achievement: Evidence from Within-Teacher Within-Student Variation," IZA Discussion Papers 4999, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Kuehn, Zoe & Landeras, Pedro, 2012. "Study Time and Scholarly Achievement in PISA," MPRA Paper 49033, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Leonardo Bonilla Mejía, 2011. "Doble jornada escolar y calidad de la educación en Colombia," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO SOBRE ECONOMÍA REGIONAL 008352, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ECONOMÍA REGIONAL.

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