News and Research 18

Exploring the impact of career models on teacher motivation

…The most common career structure in both developed and developing countries is the single salary structure, in which teachers’ pay increases yearly, irrespective of teaching quality. The only other factors taken into account in calculating pay are additional qualifications, and promotions to administrative positions. Problems with this structure include: a lack of correlation between the factors used for promotion (certificates and experience) and teacher effectiveness; a lack of accountability for quality of teaching; the demotivating effect on colleagues of less-dedicated teachers receiving automatic promotion; a flat salary structure that makes the profession less attractive to the most able; a lack of career progression opportunities for teachers who do not wish to leave the classroom; and the limited sense of self-determination among teachers…

Leadership and teacher learning in urban and rural schools in China: Meeting the dual challenges of equity and effectiveness

Despite a rapid rise in national income levels, the distribution of wealth remains unevenly distributed between residents of rural and urban areas both in mainland China and other developing nations. These inequities carry over to the education system where researchers have documented differences not only in resource allocation but also in the academic performance of students in urban and rural schools. Most research into the causes of China’s urban-rural achievement gap has focused on fiscal resources. In contrast, the current study examined differences in school organization processes associated with learning-centered leadership and teacher learning. These foci were selected due to their documented importance in supporting sustainable school improvement. We employed multi-group confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling to analyze survey data collected from 492 urban teachers and 423 rural teachers in 31 Chinese schools located in three different provinces. The results affirmed a similar model of leadership and teacher learning in urban and rural schools. Specifically, school leadership exerted significant direct and indirect effects on teacher learning. It was, however, notable that the strength of all variable measures were significantly higher in the urban schools. The findings imply a potential benefit to be gained from providing training focused on ‘learning-centered leadership for principals and middle level leaders in rural schools, as well as expanding access to quality professional development opportunities for rural teachers…

Vietnam’s economy, now driven by cheap labor, needs productivity push: official

A knowledge-based growth model requires better training to upgrade the workforce, Deputy PM Pham Binh Minh has said…

Five ways to improve parenting education in Indonesia

There is a dynamic and growing energy in Indonesia focusing on parenting education, particularly for low-income families. However, little is known about parenting styles and related outcomes, much less the coverage and effectiveness of various parenting education approaches…

Children Left Behind in China: The Role of School Fees

The barriers faced by Chinese rural-urban migrants to access social services, particularly education, in host cities could help explain why the majority of migrants choose to leave their children behind. This paper proposes a theoretical framework that allows for an explicit discussion of the link between school fees and the decision of migrant parents to bring their children to the city. The analysis instruments the endogenous school fees with unexpected shocks to the city’s public education spending, and empirically tests the theoretical predictions. The findings suggest that higher fees deter migrant workers from bringing their children, especially their daughters; reduce the number of children they bring; and increase educational remittances to rural areas for the children left behind. Increases in school fees most affect vulnerable migrant workers, and are likely to have stronger impacts during an economic crisis. These findings hold for different model specifications and robustness checks…

The Dramatic Economics of the U.S. Market for Higher Education

Caroline Hoxby:  We have in the United States what is arguably the world’s only true market for higher education, as opposed to systems that are largely centrally controlled or financed. This market exhibits a strong positive correlation between students’ college readiness (hereafter “CR”) and the educational resources of the institution they attend. Moreover, my research shows, the more powerful the market forces, the stronger the correlation…


World Bank official: Each extra year of future revenue increased by 10%: 世界银行官员:每多学一年未来收入增加10%…

2016 China Education Innovation “20 +” Forum: 2016年中国教育创新“20+”论坛年会圆满举行

Assessing Impacts of Math in Focus, a “Singapore Math” Program

This study investigates, through a cluster randomized trial, the impact of Math in Focus, a core mathematics program modeled after instructional approaches used in Singapore, on third- through fifth-grade students’ achievement in mathematics. The program is currently being used in more than 400 school districts in the United States. The program focuses on coherence of coverage of materials across grades, use of the Concrete to Pictorial to Abstract approach to instruction, and covering fewer topics, but addressing them more thoroughly. Twenty-two grade-level teams across 12 schools were randomized to the program or business as usual. Measures included indicators of fidelity to treatment, and student mathematics learning. Impacts on mathematics achievement ranged from .11 to .15 standard deviation units. No differences in impact were observed depending on level of incoming achievement, minority status, or grade level. Impact of Math in Focus did not vary across the procedures and problem-solving subscales. Discussion of findings includes the nature of the counterfactual, and possible future direction of impact studies that may focus in greater depth on the critical features of inquiry instruction unique to Math in Focus…

Good News: You’ve Got a Better Brain Than You Think
If babies could gloat, they would. The rest of us may have it all over them when it comes to size, strength and basic table manners, but brain power? Forget it. The brain you had at birth was the best little brain you’ll ever have. The one you’ve got now? Think of a Commodore 64—with no expansion slots. That, at least, has been the conventional thinking, and in some ways it’s right. Our brains are wired for information absorption in babyhood and childhood, simply because we start off knowing so little. At some point, though, absorption is replaced by consolidation, as we become less able to acquire new skills but more able to make the most of what we do know. What’s always been unclear is just what that point is. When does our learning potential start to go soft? A new paper published in Psychological Science suggests that it might be later than we thought. The study, led by cognitive neuroscientists Lisa Knoll and Delia Fuhrmann of University College London, involved a sample group of 633 subjects, divided into four age groups: young adolescents, roughly 11–13 years old; mid-adolescents, 13–16; older adolescents, 16–18; and adults, 18–33. All four groups were trained and tested in two basic skills, known as numerosity discrimination and relational reasoning…

Older teens, adults can learn non-verbal reasoning better than younger people

Older adolescents and adults can learn certain thinking skills including non-verbal reasoning more effectively than younger people, finds new UCL (University College London) research…

Schools That Work

Alanna Clark still remembers the stress of third-grade reading time. When her class read books together aloud, Alanna would often become confused. She didn’t understand how her classmates could answer the teacher’s questions about the book so quickly. As they did, Alanna was still just trying to take in the words…

Where has All the Education Gone? Everywhere But into Growth

Pritchett (World Bank Econ Rev 15(3):367–391, 2001) asked a famous question, “Where has all the education gone?” This brought the lack of correlation between the growth in measured education and the growth in income in developing countries to broad attention. Empirical findings confirm that after World War Two, human capital-output ratios have tended to be higher in less developed countries than in developed countries. We explain this pattern using a dynamic general equilibrium model with signaling games that explicitly considers the following: (1) workers with different abilities have different costs when choosing their educational levels, (2) employers are unable to directly observe workers’ abilities, and (3) worldwide governments broadly subsidize educational expenditure. Our simulation results suggest that modeling specifications with educational pooling and public subsidies to schooling could well mimic the related features of the data, and consequently these two factors could be especially important for explaining these features even though many other potential factors could also affect both economic growth and human capital accumulation simultaneously…

Mexico’s Education Reform: What Went Wrong?

Mexico has long been regarded a rising star among Latin American emerging market economies. President Enrique Peña Nieto’s major constitutional reforms prove Mexico is moving in the right direction. However, as Peña Nieto launches into the second half of his term, optimism is fading. Many reforms have produced discouraging outcomes and scanty secondary laws have left significant issues unresolved. Among the set of structural reforms that were passed by Congress, the overhaul of the education system has proven to be the most limited in its scope. Moreover, what little opportunity remains for improving the quality of Mexico’s education system is being stalled by opposition from the teacher’s union…

The Return to Education in Terms of Wealth and Health

This study presents a new view on the association between education and longevity. In contrast to the earlier literature, which focused on inefficient health behavior of the less educated, we investigate the extent to which the education gradient can be explained by fully rational and efficient behavior of all social strata. Specifically, we consider a life-cycle model in which the loss of body functionality, which eventually leads to death, can be accelerated by unhealthy behavior and delayed through health expenditure. Individuals are heterogeneous with respect to their return to education. The proposed theory rationalizes why individuals equipped with a higher return to education chose more education as well as a healthier lifestyle. When calibrated for the average male US citizen, the model motivates about 50% percent of the observable education gradient by idiosyncratic returns to education, with causality running from education to longevity. The theory also explains why compulsory schooling has comparatively small effects on longevity and why the gradient gets larger over time through improvements in medical technology…

Finland Proposes New Funding Formula for Vocational Education

Two months after proposed cuts to vocational education sparked controversy, Finland’s Minister of Education and Culture, Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, has proposed a new funding formula for vocational education institutions. The goal of the new formula is to incentivize more effective training that is better aligned to the labor market. Under the new formula, 15 percent of funding will be based on outcomes (student and employer feedback and students’ rates of gaining employment or pursuing ongoing education) and 35 percent will be based on the number and length of courses offered throughout the year. The remaining 50 percent will be based on student enrollment. Currently, 100 percent of funding for vocational education is based on enrollment. The draft will now go to the legislature for review.

Supreme Court of Canada to Decide Case on Class Size and Composition

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear a case brought by the British Columbia provincial government to decide whether the province can legislate class size and composition rather than negotiating with the British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF), British Columbia’s teachers union. The case stems from a 2012 provincial law that sets rules about class composition and size and specialist teacher ratios, effectively increasing class size and reducing the number of specialist teachers. The legislation was overturned by the provincial Supreme Court, which ordered class size and teacher ratios restored to 2002 levels set by collective bargaining. The ruling was then appealed by the provincial government. The case has major financial implications for the province, with estimates that it would cost more than CAN $1 billion (US$74 million) to restore class size and the number of specialist teachers to 2002 levels.

Singapore to Make Education Compulsory for All Special Needs Students

Starting in 2019, the Ministry of Education in Singapore is mandating that all children with special needs between the ages of 6 and 15 years attend school. Currently, children with moderate to severe special needs, including autism and visual impairment, are exempt from compulsory education. According to the Ministry, the majority of those students attend Government-funded special education schools run by voluntary welfare organizations, but some families opt out. This shift represents the government’s commitment to be more inclusive by providing educational opportunities for all Singaporean children. It will require the government to attract more special education teachers with the training to support the learning needs of this population. 

Attempt to Remove Polish Education Minister Fails

Critics called for the removal of Education Minister Anna Zalewska who has been leading a controversial effort to reform the school system, including eliminating middle schools and returning to a system of K-8 schools and high school. Teachers have been concerned about losing jobs in the restructuring due to the middle school closures. A motion before the Polish parliament failed in dismissing the Education Minister by a wide margin. Read more here.


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