Indicators of education system effectiveness

Dr Jenny Lenkeit has been awarded a small grant from the John Fell OUP Research Fund to conduct research on indicators of education system effectiveness.

International tests of student attainment such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) present their test results in the form of country league tables. These league tables are problematic because they give the impression to reflect the quality of education systems. They are influential on educational debates when governments and policy makers orient towards other systems to look for inspiration and models to remedy their own system’s weaknesses. But, confounded with the test results are very different socio-economic conditions under which education systems operate within countries.

In previous work we developed initial quantitative indicators of effectiveness of education systems by accounting for prior performance and the countries’ socio-economic conditions. We showed that high performing systems are not necessarily effective systems. But, educational effectiveness is a complex and multi-dimensional construct and its assessment at the system level requires further investigation to elaborate the quality and comprehensiveness of quantitative effectiveness indicators.

This project will further investigate different conceptualisations, dimensions (e.g. effectiveness along characteristics of gender or migration background) and methods for measuring indicators of effectiveness at the system level.  It will propose a comprehensive and innovative research programme to investigate education system effectiveness with data from international tests of student attainment.