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Primary Schooling, Student Learning, and School Quality in Rural Bangladesh-Working Paper 349

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  • Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, Nazmul Chaudhury

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Abstract

Using a primary school curricular standard basic mathematics competence test, this paper documents the low level of student achievement amongst 10-18 year old rural children in Bangladesh and tests the extent to which years spent in school increases learning. Our sample includes children currently enrolled in school as well as those out of school. About half of the children failed to pass the written competence test, a finding that also holds for those completing primary schooling. Even after holding constant a wide range of factors such as household income, parental characteristics, current enrollment status, and a direct measure of child ability, there remains a statistically significant correlation between schooling attained and basic mathematics competence above and beyond primary school completion. This pattern is more pronounced for girls who have lower competence compared to boys despite higher grade completion. We further show that the schooling-learning gradient and the gender gap therein are not explained by common differences in family background. Aggregate institutional indicators of school quality matters for overall learning outcomes, however, does not mitigate against the gender gap. These findings have wide implications for anti-poverty policies that emphasize on quantitative expansion of education in developing countries, without concurrent improvements in learning.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 349.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:349

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Web page: http://www.cgdev.org

Related research

Keywords: Cognitive ability; gender inequality; school quality;

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References

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  1. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-68, September.
  2. Harold Alderman & Peter F. Orazem & Elizabeth M. Paterno, 2001. "School Quality, School Cost, and the Public/Private School Choices of Low-Income Households in Pakistan," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 304-326.
  3. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah (Reading University), Nazmul Chaudhury (World Bank) and Amit Dar (World Bank), . "Student Achievement Conditioned Upon School Selection: Religious and Secular Secondary School Quality in Bangladesh," QEH Working Papers qehwps140, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  4. Hanushek, Eric A. & Jamison, Dean T. & Jamison, Eliot A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "Education and economic growth: It’s not just going to school, but learning something while there that matters," Munich Reprints in Economics 20467, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Das, Jishnu & Zajonc, Tristan, 2008. "India shining and Bharat drowning: comparing two Indian states to the worldwide distribution in mathematics achievement," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4644, The World Bank.
  6. Behrman, Jere R & Birdsall, Nancy, 1983. "The Quality of Schooling: Quantity Alone is Misleading," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 928-46, December.
  7. Paul Glewwe, 2002. "Schools and Skills in Developing Countries: Education Policies and Socioeconomic Outcomes," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 436-482, June.
  8. Lant Pritchett and Amanda Beatty, 2012. "The Negative Consequences of Overambitious Curricula in Developing Countries - Working Paper 293," Working Papers 293, Center for Global Development.
  9. Bedi, Arjun S. & Marshall, Jeffery H., 2002. "Primary school attendance in Honduras," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 129-153, October.
  10. M. Niaz Asadullah & Antonio Savoia & Wahiduddin Mahmud, 2013. "Paths to development: is there a Bangladesh surprise?," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 18913, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  11. Eric A. Hanushek & Victor Lavy & Kohtaro Hitomi, 2008. "Do Students Care about School Quality? Determinants of Dropout Behavior in Developing Countries," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 69-105.
  12. Richard Akresh & Emilie Bagby & Damien de Walque & Harounan Kazianga, 2012. "Child Ability and Household Human Capital Investment Decisions in Burkina Faso," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(1), pages 157 - 186.
  13. Dickerson, Andy & McIntosh, Steven & Valente, Christine, 2013. "Do the Maths: An Analysis of the Gender Gap in Mathematics in Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 7174, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah & Nazmul Chaudhury, 2009. "Holy alliances: public subsidies, Islamic high schools, and female schooling in Bangladesh," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 377-394.
  15. Torberg Falch & Sofia Sandgren Massih, 2011. "The Effect Of Education On Cognitive Ability," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(3), pages 838-856, 07.
  16. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2007. "The role of education quality for economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4122, The World Bank.
  17. Das, Jishnu & Pandey, Priyanka & Zajonc, Tristan, 2006. "Learning levels and gaps in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4067, The World Bank.
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