A Global Dataset on Education Quality (News and Research 75)

Presenting A Global Dataset on Education Quality at the ASSA Conference in Philadelphia, January 6, 2018. The American Economic Association (AEA), in conjunction with 58 associations in related disciplines known as the Allied Social Sciences Associations (ASSA), holds a three-day meeting each January to present papers on general economics topics. The event which is the largest meeting of academic economists in the world typically brings together more than 13,000 individuals from all parts of the world. ASSA 2018 took place in Philadelphia on January 5-7.  Noam Angrist presented our paper, “A Global Dataset on Education Quality (1965-2015).”  The presentation focused on this new dataset, the largest globally comparable panel database of education quality, with harmonized learning scores for 163 countries and regions, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. The expanded distribution of scores provides wider confirmation of the learning crisis in developing countries.  Using this wider distribution of test scores, we can more accurately document the link between school quality and economic growth, which turns out to have a stronger correlation in lower income countries.  The presentation also focuses on documenting the linking methodologies applied and the robustness tests undertaken to ensure this new dataset contains credible measures of globally comparable achievement distributions as well as mean scores.  Learning outcomes in developing countries are often clustered at the bottom of a global scale; although variation in performance is high in developing countries, the top performers still often perform worse than the bottom performers in developed countries; gender gaps are relatively small, with high variation in the direction of the gap; and distributions reveal meaningfully different trends than mean scores, with less than 50 percent of students reaching the global minimum threshold of proficiency in developing countries relative to 86 percent in developed countries. For the countries with multiple scores over many years we can see when major improvements or deteriorations occurred.  For high performers, it appears that it takes a long time for reforms to transform education systems.  The paper was well received.  Questions and comments focused on: requests for the paper and data; heterogeneity of the results; further extensions of the database; trade-offs between expansion and quality of data; robustness checks; trends in scores and reasons for success.  We are expanding the database and conducting further robustness checks.  Future research will focus on use of the database and trying to explain success (or failure). 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000a



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