wordpress-themes.org wordpress themes wordpress themes

Regional Economic Disparities as Determinants of Students’ Achievement in Italy: Introduction

Regional Economic Disparities as Determinants of Students’ Achievement in Italy: IntroductionIn recent years, there is a growing interest in analysing the determinants of Italian students’ performances. Such interest can be motivated through a number of reasons. First, the policy relevance of information about students’ achievements is very high, for instance in terms of educational reforms or allocation of public budgets. This issue is also emphasised by the poor performance of Italian students with respect to their counterparts around the world. Such point has been recently stressed, also because of the prominent role assumed by international standardized tests, like OECD-PISA. Second, the public opinion calls for more accountability of schools’ performance, both to understand the efficiency of public spending and have information to choose the best schools for their children. Third, the researchers are trying to fill the gap between Italy and other developed countries, where the analysis of students and schools’ results has a long tradition. Indeed, while in many countries (especially US) the focus on student achievement has a long history, in Italy this is a relatively new tendency. Fourth, as schooling is one of the major means through which young people accumulates human capital, it is important to understand which are the main students’ achievement determinants, also because social inequalities tend to reproduce themselves into educational inequalities. Payday Loans Online

These reasons, taken together, have lead to an improvement of the evaluation procedures of schools’ characteristics and results in Italy. At present, the Italian National Evaluation Committee (Invalsi – Istituto Nazionale per la Valutazione del Sistema di Istruzione e Formazione) has been established with the specific aim to evaluate the Italian schools. Among other tasks, a recent law prescribed that the Invalsi should carry out an analysis of students’ achievement at different levels of education: second and fifth year of the primary school (age 7 and 10, respectively), first and third of the lower-secondary (age 11 and 13), second and fifth of the upper-secondary (age 15 and 18). This is the first time that a law imposes a national evaluation by using standardized tests in Italy. In the year 2008/09, the evaluations covered the primary-education level, and the third year of the lower-secondary; in the next two years, the evaluation system will be fully implemented. These changes represent a positive and radical change with respect to the previous situation; indeed, while in other countries the accountability of the educational system has been guaranteed by several policies (e.g. Andersen et al., 2009 for the case of Denmark, and Lee, 2010 for US), Italy suffered a strong lack of reliable information on students and schools’ results.
The present paper employs the new Italian data concerning the national final examination at the end of the lower secondary education (third year of the lower secondary schools, when the regular students are 13 years old) in the year 2008/09 (the first national examination was carried out in 2007/08). This final examination has been conducted through a standardized test identical for all the students involved in the exam. About 560,000 students in 6,000 schools have compiled the test. Our study analyses a representative sample of students and schools that participated to this test.
Worldwide, there is a huge literature tradition, in the field of educational economics and policy, concerned with the aim to investigate the determinants of students’ achievement. Such studies typically search for empirical support on educational policies to boost students’ achievement and learning.

This post was written by , posted on December 28, 2013 Saturday at 12:04 pm