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The mathematics skills of school children: How does England compare to the high performing East Asian jurisdictions?

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  • John Jerrim

    ()
    (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London)

  • Alvaro Choi

    ()
    (Institut d’Economia de Barcelona, University of Barcelona)

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    Abstract

    The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) are two highly respected studies of school pupils’ academic achievement. English policymakers have been disappointed with school children’s performance on these tests, particularly in comparison to the strong results of young people from East Asia. In this paper we provide new insight into the England – East Asia gap in school children’s mathematics skills. We do so by considering how cross-national differences in math test scores change between ages 10 and 16. Our results suggest that, although average math test scores are higher in East Asian countries, this achievement gap does not increase between ages 10 and 16. We thus conclude that reforming the secondary school system may not be the most effective way for England to ‘catch up’ with the East Asian nations in the PISA math rankings. Rather earlier intervention, during pre-school and primary school, may be needed instead.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London in its series DoQSS Working Papers with number 13-03.

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    Date of creation: 21 Feb 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1303

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    Keywords: : PISA; TIMSS; educational policy; primary education; secondary education;

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    1. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "The role of cognitive skills in economic development," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 20454, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. Schütz, Gabriela & Ursprung, Heinrich W. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "Education policy and equality of opportunity," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 19901, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    3. Robert J. Barro, 2001. "Human Capital and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 12-17, May.
    4. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, . "The Economics of International Differences in Educational Achievement," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    5. Giorgina Brown & John Micklewright & Sylke V. Schnepf & Robert Waldmann, 2007. "International surveys of educational achievement: how robust are the findings?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(3), pages 623-646.
    6. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2011. "The measurement of educational inequality: Achievement and opportunity," Working Papers 240, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    7. World Bank, 2012. "World Development Indicators 2012," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6014.
    8. Andreas Ammermueller & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 315-348, 07.
    9. Hermann, Z. & Horn, D., 2011. "How are inequality of opportunity and mean student performance related? A quantile regression approach using PISA data," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 11(3).
    10. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00646594 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Brunello, Giorgio & Weber, Guglielmo & Weiss, Christoph T., 2012. "Books Are Forever: Early Life Conditions, Education and Lifetime Income," IZA Discussion Papers 6386, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. John Jerrim, 2012. "The socio-economic gradient in teenagers' literacy skills: how does England compare to other countries?," DoQSS Working Papers, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London 12-04, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
    13. repec:hal:psewpa:halshs-00646594 is not listed on IDEAS
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