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India shining and Bharat drowning: comparing two Indian states to the worldwide distribution in mathematics achievement

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  • Das, Jishnu
  • Zajonc, Tristan

Abstract

This paper uses student answers to publicly released questions from an international testing agency together with statistical methods from Item Response Theory to place secondary students from two Indian states -Orissa and Rajasthan -on a worldwide distribution of mathematics achievement. These two states fall below 43 of the 51 countries for which data exist. The bottom 5 percent of children rank higher than the bottom 5 percent in only three countries-South Africa, Ghana and Saudi Arabia. But not all students test poorly. Inequality in the test-score distribution for both states is next only to South Africa in the worldwide ranking exercise. Consequently, and to the extent that these two states can represent India, the two statements"for every ten top performers in the United States there are four in India"and"for every ten low performers in the United States there are two hundred in India"are both consistent with the data. The combination of India's size and large variance in achievement give both the perceptions that India is shining even as Bharat, the vernacular for India, is drowning. Comparable estimates of inequalities in learning are the building blocks for substantive research on the correlates of earnings inequality in India and other low-income countries; the methods proposed here allow for independent testing exercises to build up such data by linking scores to internationally comparable tests.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4644
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Geniuses and economic development
      by Ajay Shah in Ajay Shah's blog on 2010-09-12 02:54:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Emran, M. Shahe & Shilpi, Forhad, 2015. "Gender, Geography, and Generations: Intergenerational Educational Mobility in Post-Reform India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 362-380.
    2. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:6:p:1535-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Azam, Mehtabul & Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi, 2015. "Assessing teacher quality in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 74-83.
    4. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja, 2015. "Delivering education: a pragmatic framework for improving education in low-income countries," Chapters,in: Handbook of International Development and Education, chapter 6, pages 85-130 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:62:y:2018:i:c:p:267-286 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Khwaja, 2014. "Report Cards: The Impact of Providing School and Child Test Scores on Educational Markets," CID Working Papers 287, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    7. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, Nazmul Chaudhury, 2013. "Primary Schooling, Student Learning, and School Quality in Rural Bangladesh-Working Paper 349," Working Papers 349, Center for Global Development.
    8. Karthik Muralidharan & Abhijeet Singh & Alejandro J. Ganimian, 2016. "Disrupting Education? Experimental Evidence on Technology-Aided Instruction in India," NBER Working Papers 22923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Deepti Goel & Bidisha Barooah, 2018. "Drivers of Student Performance: Evidence from Higher Secondary Public Schools in Delhi," Working Papers id:12881, eSocialSciences.
    10. M. Niaz Asadullah, 2016. "The Effect Of Islamic Secondary School Attendance On Academic Achievement," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 61(04), pages 1-24, September.
    11. Das, Jishnu & Zajonc, Tristan, 2010. "India shining and Bharat drowning: Comparing two Indian states to the worldwide distribution in mathematics achievement," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 175-187, July.
    12. Rajesh Raj, S.N. & Sen, Kunal & Annigeri, Vinod B. & Kulkarni, Arun K. & Revankar, D.R., 2015. "Joyful learning? The effects of a school intervention on learning outcomes in Karnataka," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 183-195.
    13. Glewwe, Paul & Huang, Qiuqiong & Park, Albert, 2017. "Cognitive skills, noncognitive skills, and school-to-work transitions in rural China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 141-164.
    14. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja, 2012. "What Did You Do All Day?: Maternal Education and Child Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(4), pages 873-912.
    15. Singh, Abhijeet, 2015. "Private school effects in urban and rural India: Panel estimates at primary and secondary school ages," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 16-32.
    16. Kaila, Heidi & Sahn, David E. & Sunder, Naveen, 2018. "Early Life Determinants of Cognitive Ability: A Comparative Study on Madagascar and Senegal," IZA Discussion Papers 11550, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Abhijeet Singh, 2014. "Emergence and evolution of learning gaps across countries: Linked panel evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-28, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    18. Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Ozyurt, Selcuk & Singh, Niharika, 2018. "Upping the Ante: The Equilibrium Effects of Unconditional Grants to Private Schools," Working Paper Series rwp18-019, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    19. Goel, Deepti & Barooah, Bidisha, 2018. "Drivers of Student Performance: Evidence from Higher Secondary Public Schools in Delhi," IZA Discussion Papers 11670, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Pauline Dixon, 2013. "International Aid and Private Schools for the Poor," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15122.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Secondary Education; Educational Sciences; Teaching and Learning; Primary Education; Tertiary Education;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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