News and Research 27

 

IMG_1005.JPGPedagogy versus school readiness: the impact of a randomized reading instruction intervention and community-based playgroup intervention on early grade reading outcomes in Tonga  Identifying cost-effective interventions to improve early literacy is vital to developing countries, given the importance of early literacy for an individual’s future education outcomes and subsequent human capital formation. This paper presents the impact on early grade reading outcomes of two low-cost randomized interventions in Tonga: a reading instruction intervention and a community play-based activity intervention. The first intervention aims to improve early grade reading outcomes specifically; estimated impacts are approximately 0.3 standard deviation, although in some reading domains impacts are substantial, ranging from 0.6 to 0.7 standard deviation. The second intervention aims to improve school readiness and subsequently early grade reading outcomes, by providing communities with support to establish a community play-based activity. Using an instrumental variables approach, the play-based activity demonstrates positive impacts of around 0.2 standard deviation in many but not all reading domains. For the domains where a statistically significant impact is measured, the community play-based activity intervention is as at least as cost effective as the reading instruction intervention. The play-based activity intervention is shown to improve test scores by 0.21 to 0.47 standard deviation per US$100, depending on the reading test domain. The reading instruction intervention improves test scores by 0.08 to 0.34 standard deviation per US$100…

Student-centered teaching practices result in better student learning outcomes  Education spending is one area where the effectiveness of spending can be improved. Indonesia is striving to improve the quality of education and to assist students to develop higher-order thinking skills. The utilization of a student-centered learning approach is considered to be at the core of this change. This involves less teacher-centered lecturing and more interactive learning, drawing upon investigative and practical teaching practices with a connection to real world contexts…a recent video study of teacher behavior found that the adoption of student-centered learning practices by teachers has been slow. The study linked its examination of teacher practices to test results and found that teachers who use student-centered practices achieve better student learning outcomes than those who use teacher-centered practices. The study also found that teaching practices are influenced by teacher beliefs and knowledge, and this relationship impacts teacher effectiveness. That is, it is not enough for teachers to just start using student-centered practices, they must also develop the beliefs and knowledge to enable them to implement these practices…

Education’s Role in Catalyzing Economic Development and Growth  Despite the productivity slowdown in countries such as the United States, education remains one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality and for laying the basis for sustained economic growth. Recent evidence points to the need to make sure that the increasingly schooled population is also effective in terms of competencies and abilities, especially the ability to use high tech. For instance, it is not sufficient to simply increase school access and years of schooling attainment if that schooling is not also of high quality. That is, schools should ensure the attainment of cognitive skills and other competencies needed in society and the labor market. Studies show that students with high academic achievement earn more and that countries able to increase education quality tend to grow more. The higher the level of education of the population, the lesser will be the number of poor persons because education imparts knowledge and skills which is correlated with higher earnings…

Poor schools are at the heart of Thailand’s political malaise  Everyone knows that nurturing brainboxes is good for an economy. In Thailand, school reformers have an extra incentive: to narrow differences between rich people in cities and their poorer rural cousins, which have led to a decade of political tension and occasional eruptions of violence. For years shoddy teaching has favoured urban children whose parents can afford to send them to cramming schools or to study abroad. Dismal instruction in the countryside has made it easier for city slickers from posh colleges to paint their political opponents as pliable bumpkins…

Singapore, the 21st century education superpower  For a number of years now, Singapore has been recognised as having one of the best school systems in the world, topping the OECD’s 2015 global education rankings, coming top in the 2016 TIMSS report and claiming first place in the most recent PISA rankings…

What makes Singapore the most competitive talent hub in Asia?   While emerging technologies and sectors like fintech (financial technology) might prove challenging for countries that are slow to adapt, Singapore’s ability to embrace these changes is one of the key reasons why it again placed second on this year’s Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI)…

The Effects of Over-Education on Returns in the Graduate Labour Market  Using a Household Income Survey (HIS), this study examines the private returns to education in Malaysian financial sector…results indicate the presence of an over-education situation among degree-educated workers despite enjoying higher private returns…

Early learning is making a difference for children from ethnic minority communities  What happens when you teach young children in their native language? The results go beyond the obvious. This is rural Ratanak Kiri — Cambodia’s most remote province in the far north east of the country. Many families here rely on farming, and it’s normal for children to help their parents in the fields, sometimes to the detriment of their education…

Targeted Remedial Education: Experimental Evidence from Peru  …results from the first randomized experiment of an inquiry-based remedial science-education program for low-performing elementary students in the setting of a developing country. At 48 low-income public elementary schools in Lima, Peru and surrounding areas, third-grade students scoring in the bottom half of their science classes were selected at random to receive up to 16 remedial sessions of 90 minutes each during the school year. Control-group compliance with assignment (no extra tutoring) was close to perfect. Treatment-group compliance was roughly 40 percent, or five to six remedial sessions—a 4 to 5 percent increase in total science instruction time over the school year. Despite the low-intensity treatment, students assigned to the remedial sessions scored 0.12 standard deviations higher on a science endline test. But all improvements were concentrated among boys, for whom gains were 0.22 standard deviations…

Chinese school allows students to borrow marks from ‘grade bank’ to pass tests  Many of us have been there: hopelessly unprepared for an exam, wishing we had studied more and certain of a failing mark. Now for students at one school in China, success is guaranteed, but it comes at a price. A high school in eastern China has set up a “grade bank”, where students who would… Continue reading…

What policy makers, employers and educators need to know about UK skills  Skills are vital for the prosperity of individuals, communities and society as a whole…

How important is providing careers-related information for students?  The type and quality of education matters for labour market prospects… students do need to have good quality careers information and advice. What isn’t clear is whether cheap information interventions are really going to make the difference for young people as they approach the time where they need to make important decisions….I have reviewed this for a recent IZA World of Labour paper, which focuses on results from 10 evaluations implemented via Randomised Control Trials: http://wol.iza.org/articles/how-important-is-career-information-and-advice

Understanding Loan Aversion in Education: Evidence from High School Seniors, Community College Students, and Adults  Although prior research has suggested that some students may be averse to taking out loans to finance their college education, there is little empirical evidence showing the extent to which loan aversion exists or how it affects different populations of students. This study provides the first large-scale quantitative evidence of levels of loan aversion in the United States. Using survey data collected on more than 6,000 individuals, we examine the frequency of loan aversion in three distinct populations. Depending on the measure, between 20 and 40% of high school seniors exhibit loan aversion with lower rates among community college students and adults not in college. Women are less likely to express loan-averse attitudes than men, and Hispanic respondents are more likely to be loan averse than White respondents…

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