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Improving Education Achievement and Attainment in Luxembourg


  • David Carey
  • Ekkehard Ernst


Improving education achievement in Luxembourg is a priority for strengthening productivity growth and enhancing residents. employment prospects in the private sector, where employers mainly hire cross-border workers. Student achievement in Luxembourg is below the OECD average according to the 2003 OECD PISA study, with the performance gap between immigrant and native students being above average. A factor that makes learning more difficult in Luxembourg than in other countries is the use of three languages of instruction (Lëtzebuergesch, German and French). New empirical evidence presented in this paper based on the PISA tests suggests that the reforms over the past decade or so to attenuate these difficulties have had considerable success: the adverse impact of immigrant status on PISA test scores is around the OECD average. The fact that the performance gap between immigrant and native students is nevertheless greater than average reflects other factors, notably the relatively large difference in socio-economic background between immigrant and native students. The paper also discusses further reforms that are underway or planned to improve achievement of immigrant students. Another feature of Luxembourg.s education system is that it is highly stratified, with children being sorted into a large number of parallel tracks at an early stage and there being a high rate of grade repetition. International evidence suggests that stratification increases the impact of socio-economic background on student achievement. Reforms to reduce stratification are discussed in the remainder of the paper, together with reforms to enhance achievement more generally by improving teaching skills and basing school programmes on key competences. This paper relates to the 2006 Economic Survey of Luxembourg ( Améliorer la performance du système éducatif au Luxembourg Améliorer la réussite scolaire au Luxembourg constitue une priorité pour renforcer la croissance de la productivité et augmenter les perspectives de l'emploi des résidents dans le secteur privé, dans lequel les employeurs ont principalement recours à de la main-d'oeuvre transfrontalière. La réussite scolaire des élèves au Luxembourg est en dessous de la moyenne de l'OCDE selon l'étude PISA de 2003, avec une différence de réussite entre élèves immigrés et natifs au-dessus de la moyenne. Un des facteurs qui rend l'apprentissage plus difficile au Luxembourg que dans d'autres pays est l'utilisation de trois langues d'instruction (luxembourgeois, allemand et français). Basés sur les tests PISA, les nouveaux travaux empiriques présentés dans ce papier suggère que les réformes durant cette dernière décennie visant à atténuer ces difficultés ont connu un succès notable : l'impact négatif du statut d'immigré sur les performances PISA est autour de la moyenne de l'OCDE. Certes, il existe une différence de résultats entre les élèves immigrés et nationaux -- différence supérieure à la moyenne -- mais cela est dû à d'autres facteurs, notamment les origines socio-économiques différentes des élèves immigrés et nationaux. Le papier discute également d'autres réformes actuellement en route ou planifiées visant à augmenter la réussite scolaire des élèves immigrés. Une autre caractéristique du système éducatif luxembourgeois est sa stratification accrue, qui sélectionne tôt les enfants dans un nombre important de parcours parallèles. Par ailleurs, le redoublement de classe est important. Les comparaisons internationales suggèrent que la stratification augmente l'impact du cadre socio-économique sur la réussite scolaire de l'élève. Le papier discute ainsi des réformes sur une réduction de stratification, mais aussi des réformes visant une augmentation générale de la réussite scolaire en augmentant les compétences d'enseignement des professeurs ainsi qu'une réorientation des programmes scolaires autour des compétences clés. Ce document se rapporte à l'Étude économique du Luxembourg 2006 (

Suggested Citation

  • David Carey & Ekkehard Ernst, 2006. "Improving Education Achievement and Attainment in Luxembourg," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 508, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:508-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Shiu-Sheng Chen & Ming-Ching Luoh, 2010. "Are Mathematics and Science Test Scores Good Indicators of Labor-Force Quality?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 96(1), pages 133-143, March.
    2. Bruno Martorano & Luisa Natali & Chris Neubourg & Jonathan Bradshaw, 2014. "Child Well-Being in Advanced Economies in the Late 2000s," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(1), pages 247-283, August.

    More about this item


    analyse des données d'enquête; attainment; compétences clés; compétences des enseignants; education; formation professionnelle; general education; immigration and socio-economic background; immigration et cadre socio-économique; key competences; PISA; PISA; pre-school education; réussite scolaire; school system; secondary education; stratification; stratification; streaming; survey data analysis; système scolaire; teachers' skills; tracking; trilingual education; éducation; éducation générale; éducation préscolaire; éducation secondaire; éducation trilingue;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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