According to the OECD (2001) the growth of the knowledge society and the development and pervasiveness of the emerging information and communication technologies (ICT) represent a major challenge and a major opportunity for education. Over the past decade, many countries have made large investments in improving their educational infrastructure by providing more computers and better internet access to schools.
Even before and certainly ever since the 1983 release of by the National Commission on Excellence in Education, national economic competitiveness has been offered as a primary reason for pushing school reform. The commission warned, “If only to keep and improve on the slim competitive edge we still retain in world markets, we must dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational system for the benefit of all—old and young alike, affluent and poor, majority and minority.” Responding to these urgent words, the National Governors Association, in 1989, pledged that U.S. students would lead the world in math and science achievement by 2000.
Educational Research That Benefits Society
Reaching these conclusions required a multistep analysis. The first step was to use the 12 PISA and other international math and science assessments, dating back to 1964, to construct an index of cognitive skill levels for a large sample of countries at various points in time. Because the number of countries participating in the 12 test administrations changed from one administration to the next, and because testing agencies have made no attempt to link their results to one another, we needed to develop comparable scores for each test. This required a norm against which each test could be calibrated. Fortunately, we could construct that norm by using information from tests in the United States, the country that has had the earliest, most sophisticated, and most comprehensive system of testing. The United States has participated in all of the international tests since 1964, and it has also maintained a separate longitudinal testing system of its own, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). With that information in hand, it was possible to calibrate scores on each of the separate international tests to one another via the connection of those tests to the NAEP. To obtain further precision, we used the variation in scores across a subset of the more-advanced developed countries to obtain an estimate of the spread in scores across countries. By following these two steps, we were able to aggregate all available scores for each country into measures of average cognitive skill levels for each country.
Teachers play a key role in the education and also student’s life
A more direct measure of a country’s human capital is the performance of students on tests in math and science, something that might be called the average level of “cognitive skills” among those entering a country’s work force. At one time, internationally comparable information on student performance was not available for a sufficient number of countries over a long enough period of time to allow for systematic study, which is why economists relied upon the less informative measures of school attainment. Now that test-score data for many countries over an extended period of time are readily available, it is possible to supplement measures of educational attainment with these more direct measures of cognitive skills.
Foreign Language Education Improves Young Students…
Intelligent financing concepts for education should be based on needs and specific background rather than distributing untargeted subsidies. New concepts of resource distribution require greater transparency. But what should this transparency look like? Will external accountability enhance quality or should there be more focus on capacity-building and self-assessment to improve the education system? How can financing mechanisms provide effective and sufficient investments in education even in times of crisis?
Effective Investments in Education — Global Economic …
But education budgets are limited, especially in times of economic downturn. Thus, it is worth comparing countries that have decreased and augmented their education budgets during the crisis—and evaluating the consequences of these decisions. If, on the one hand, investments in education are vital and, on the other hand, budget constraints restrict the available resources, investments should be as effective as possible. The question then is: where does it make sense to invest most in education?