Roundup of blogs and research – July 28, 2016

Assessing systems for hiring and deploying teachers in the Philippines

Over the last decade, research from many different countries has demonstrated the important role played by teachers in improving students’ learning and increasing their competencies. Studies from countries as different as the US and Indonesia have shown the enormous benefits that follow from having adequate and effective teachers working in a country’s schools. In Indonesia, a value-added analysis of student learning outcomes found that the more teachers know, the greater the improvements in the learning competencies of primary and junior secondary students. In the US, better teaching in elementary and secondary schools has been shown to increase students’ college participation rates, raise their subsequent earnings, and improve other long-term outcomes.

Early grade reading assessment in Timor-Leste

26% of students in Grades 1-3 meet a fluency benchmark – In 2011, a second Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) survey was carried out in Timor-Leste to diagnose reading levels in the country after the expansion of access to primary schooling. Originally, the survey was intended to analyze both Tetum and Portuguese literacy skills together, however, due to technical requirements the survey was divided into two language strands ex post: Tetum and Portuguese. The Tetum survey yielded interesting results discussed in this report that yield important research questions for future exploration. However, due to the implementation of the current language and curriculum policy as well as resourcing constraints of the Timor-Leste education system in Portuguese, findings from the Portuguese survey are inconclusive and should be considered as an aid to future research rather than a baseline survey. Students show grade progression in Tetum language, albeit progression starting from a low base and exhibiting some slowness. Approximately 26% of students in Grades 1-3 meet a fluency benchmark of 45 correct words per minute in Tetum which is associated to 70% comprehension. Socio-economic, school and specific factors associated with better reading outcomes include speaking Tetum at home, access to printed materials at home, teacher attendance at in-service and reading with family at home.

Timor-Leste 2011 EGMA

In 2011, the Timor-Leste Ministry of Education, with assistance from the World Bank and Ausaid, conducted the first Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) survey in Timor-Leste. More than 1200 students in 65 schools were surveyed in Grades One, Two and Three. The analysis of the EGMA 2011 Timor-Leste baseline survey calls for an immediate response to safeguard the educational future of young Timorese students. Although students perform well in basic, “Phase Zero” mathematics skills such as oral counting and correspondence counting, “Phase One” skills (number identification) shows signs of slow gains. Later manipulative and calculation skills, i.e. those in “Phase Two” and “Phase Three” (quantity discrimination, missing numbers, word problems and arithmetic) are poorly understood and used by Timorese students. After three years of schooling, Grade Three students can only answer 46% of simple subtraction problems correctly on average and only 72% of addition problems -all of which should have been understood by the end of Grade One. The low ability of Timorese students to handle basic numeracy puts in doubt their ability to cope with an increasingly stringent curriculum in later years. Language use was one of the most concerning aspects of mathematics education revealed by the survey. Although the main language of the classroom is Tetum, students’ mathematics textbooks are in Portuguese. Some students did not speak enough Tetum or Portuguese to complete the survey without aid of a translator for their local languages. This linguistic diversity within the classroom indicates that further research into how Timorese students learn and in which languages is required. In terms of factors that showed positive association with early mathematic abilities, the participation in daily mathematics lessons, working with others in those lessons and doing homework were all associated with statistically significant improvements in mathematics outcomes at the 95% level.

Why Singapore’s kids are so good at maths

The city-state regularly tops global league tables. What’s the secret of its achievement? Sie Yu Chuah smiles when asked how his parents would react to a low test score. “My parents are not that strict but they have high expectations of me,” he says. “I have to do well. Excel at my studies. That’s what they expect from me.” The cheerful, slightly built 13-year-old is a pupil at Admiralty, a government secondary school in the northern suburbs of Singapore that opened in 2002…

Answering THE big question in global education: Why is Vietnam such an outlier?

Why do Vietnam school children score over 100 points better on comparable tests than the average for low-income countries? Vietnam is basically the only low-income country in any of the internationally comparable tests that performs at the same level as rich countries. Vietnam is a massive outlier, performing substantially better than should be expected for a country at that level of income. Rich OECD countries such as the UK and US flock to see the top performing places in the world on the PISA test to try and understand what is so special about education systems in Shanghai and Finland that enables them to perform 100 points better than the OECD average. Vietnam scores over 100 points better than the average for low-income countries…

Vietnam’s students perform mysteriously well on tests, researchers have figured out why

Vietnam is one of education’s biggest outliers: It’s basically the only low-income country that performs at the same level as rich countries on international academic tests.

There’s a clear positive relationship between a country’s economic strength and how well its students perform on certain tests…

RISE Launches Research in Vietnam

Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) – a new initiative aimed at conducting high-quality research to build evidence to enhance children’s learning throughout the world – announced today that it will begin work in Vietnam…

#ShanghaiConsensus: A Report on the Global Conference on Equity and Excellence

At the Global Conference on Equity and Excellence in Basic Education, May 17-19, 2016, in Shanghai, China (co-hosted by the World Bank, Shanghai Normal University and the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission), we learned lessons from Shanghai, discussed challenges among participating countries (more than 25), and agreed to collaborate to promote education equity and excellence around the world…


State counsellor: Pay attention to primary education

Primary school teachers need to be more valued, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said at an education seminar in the capital last week. “I too care about primary education,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said at the Education Promotion Implementation Seminar. “But at the moment, primary school teachers are not being valued when compared with those at the higher education level.”…

The Trend of The Returns to Educations in Indonesia

This paper describes the rate of return to education in Indonesia. The purpose of this paper was to determine how the trend of return to education from 1993 to 2007. By using Mincer equation, we analyzed return to education in Indonesia with using Indonesia Family Life Survey (IFLS) data collected in 1993, 1997, 2000, and 2007. Mincer specification linked between income and education. Income used in this paper was real income of a person who works. The estimation of the rate of return to education started by separating each year data. Then, it used pool data by adding year variable and multiplication variable between year and education. Estimation was also carried out by comparing between men and women. Further, estimation was divided into two age cohorts, young cohort and old cohort. All the results of estimation indicated a decreasing rate of return, the greatest decrease occurred on men with old cohort.

Subsidies for Free Kindergarten in Hong Kong

Hong Kong education officials released a plan to provide subsidies to eligible, nonprofit kindergarten providers to cover labor and rental costs. The Education Bureau announced its policy goal of free kindergarten education earlier this year and plans to fully implement it by the 2017-2018 school year. This is part of a larger goal of providing students with 15 years of free education. The kindergarten providers would receive between US$4,279 and US$6,846 per student every year for personnel salary costs and other operating expenses, in addition to a rental subsidy. The subsidy should cover operations for half-day kindergarten, according to education officials. Leaders from the teachers’ union argued that the subsidies did not account for kindergarten schools with high numbers of veteran teachers and estimated that roughly 30 percent of parents will still have to pay school fees under this plan. Read more at South China Morning Post.

South Korea’s Falling Birthrate to Force University Closures

The Ministry of Education in South Korea estimates that there will be fewer students than there are student slots at universities by 2019. Korea currently has 386 colleges and universities, including vocational colleges and online institutions. Statistics Korea estimates that by 2030 only 220 universities and colleges will be needed, meaning that more than 160 will have to close over the next 14 years. Read more in The Chosunilbo here.

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