PISA 2018 Indicates Gender Reading Gaps are Closing: Is It Time to Celebrate?

PISA 2018 Indicates Gender Reading Gaps are Closing: Is It Time to Celebrate?

Results from PISA 2018 reveal a persistent gender gap in favour of 15-year-old girls in reading. On average, across 29 OECD countries with comparable data since 2000, this gap was 32 points in in 2000, 39 points in 2009 and 30 points in 2018. PISA scores have a standard deviation of around 100 points: this means that gender gaps in reading were large in 2000 and remain large in 2018. In some of the countries that are often considered to be champions of gender equality, boys’ underachievement in reading is especially pronounced: in Finland it was 51 points in 2000, 55 points in 2009 and 52 points in 2018. In Norway it was 43 points in 2000 and 47 points in both 2009 and 2018.

Preventing social segregation to improve equity in education

Preventing social segregation to improve equity in education

In recent years, levels of social segregation have increased in several European capital cities. Against this background, a recent study analyzed to what extent education systems in European countries are socially segregated, and whether social segregation between schools is related to social inequality in student achievement.

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Preparing the ground: early learning opportunities can make the difference

Sabine Meinck & Agnes Stancel-Piątak For decades, educational researchers have found that children from disadvantaged families often lack access to stimulating learning activities.[1][2] Back in 1995, a famous study called “The early catastrophe. The 30 million words gap” by Hart & Risley[3] uncovered a large gap in language exposure of toddlers between high and low-income […]

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Comparing the Relationship Between Teacher Quality, Instruction and Educational Outcomes in Primary and Secondary School. Evidence from Nordic Countries.

Trude Nilsen Lack of previous research in Nordic countries Previous research on teacher effectiveness has shown that formal teacher training and certification affects student outcomes indirectly via their instruction. However, most studies within this field have been conducted in Germany and the US, using the mathematics achievement of lower secondary students as the outcome. We […]

An Unfair Start: UNICEF’s Report Card on Educational Inequalities in Rich Countries

An Unfair Start: UNICEF’s Report Card on Educational Inequalities in Rich Countries

Two OCCAM contributors (John Jerrim and myself) participated in the Advisory Board of UNICEF’s latest Report Card on educational inequalities in rich countries. It was a great experience, not least because of the diversity of perspectives on the topic. There were many underlying conceptual dilemmas, data problems and difficult choices to be made in selecting the indicators and the ensuing ranking of countries. The UNICEF research team finally decided on all these methodological choices, which was fortunate in view of the lack of consensus within the Advisory Board.

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Mind That Gap: What PIAAC Has to Say on Why and Where Education is Associated with Political Efficacy

Philosophers from Aristotle to Rousseau have held the belief that functioning democracies are founded on an educated citizenship. Evidence suggests that better educated individuals are more likely to be politically involved. However, the association between education and political involvement varies across countries and we do not know if and how variations across countries depend on how the political system is organised.

PISA, Socioeconomic Achievement Gaps, and Education Policies

PISA, Socioeconomic Achievement Gaps, and Education Policies

Louis Volante, Sylke V. Schnepf, John Jerrim & Don A. Klinger The OECD has traditionally conceptualized excellence in education by highlighting education systems that have high achievement and negligible gaps in PISA performance between boys and girls, immigrants and non-immigrants, and students from high versus low socioeconomic status (SES) groups.  Our recent Springer (2019) book […]

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Smarter Teachers Produce Smarter Students. This (Partly) Explains the Country Rankings in PISA.

Marc Piopiunik The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) continually illustrates how the reading, science and mathematics performance of 15-year-olds differs across countries. Differences in teacher quality are commonly cited as a key determinant of these huge differences. In a recent study, my co-authors Eric A. Hanushek (Stanford University), Simon Wiederhold (KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt), and […]

From Numbers to Meaning through Comparisons within Countries over Time

From Numbers to Meaning through Comparisons within Countries over Time

Most of the international large-scale assessments are repeated in regular intervals. PISA is conducted every three-years, TIMSS every fourth year, and PIRLS is conducted with five-year intervals. Accordingly, this allows for comparisons within countries over time, with the objective to uncover patterns or trends and to predict future development. The achievement scores are linked over time by having a relatively large number of test questions that are repeated. This makes it possible to anchor subsequent test scores with the previous ones. In addition, sections of the same background questionnaires are repeated over time to also capture changes in the learning context, demographics etc.

Is Canada Really an Education “Super-power”? The Evidence is not as Clear-cut as You Might Think…

Is Canada Really an Education “Super-power”? The Evidence is not as Clear-cut as You Might Think…

When the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results are released every three years, it is now little surprise that a set of East Asian nations (e.g. Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea) dominate the top spots in these rankings. These nations typically substantially outperform most English-speaking Western nations, with one important exception – Canada. This has not gone unnoticed by policymakers and the education media. Indeed, after the release of the PISA 2015 results, Canada was described as an “education superpower” with various theories (from the strong academic performance of immigrants through to high levels of student motivation) put forward to explain this result. Indeed Andreas Schleicher – the man who has led the OECD’s PISA programme – suggesting that the strong commitment to equity in Canada is the key.