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

Also the specific literature on applied economics contributed to this field of analysis, by asking how different students, schools and institutional characteristics do impact on students’ results. The most part of such literature adopts the Education Production Function (EPF) as the paradigm for modelling the relationship between students’ achievement (output or outcome measure) and many students and schools’ characteristics (inputs).
Todd & Wolpin illustrated the main recent methodological procedures that can be used for the estimation of EFPs. By using OECD-PISA data, Fuchs & Woessman realised a wide empirical analysis to show the most important determinants of students’ achievement in an international setting. Sales personnel

However, the literature in this field has been growing, and now many authors have written extensively, by conducting many empirical studies that employed internationally available datasets. A good summary has been recently provided by Hanushek & Woessman. The authors collected and classified the most relevant contributions, showing the main findings from such empirical research:
•    quantitative input measures (i.e. expenditure per student, students:teachers ratios, etc.) have a low statistical association with students’ performances;
•    the factors that explain more the performances’ differences among students (in an international comparison) are (i) the institutional structures (e.g. competition among schools, autonomy, funding procedures, etc.) and (ii) the quality of teachers.
This research effort, as the interested reader can have a fruitful, synthetic glance to the evidence on the determinants of educational achievement – in an international perspective. It is important to point out that all the studies reviewed in that summary adopt such a “macro” perspective (i.e. detecting factors which explain international differences in educational achievement): the typical datasets employed are OECD-PISA, TIMSS, PIRLS, etc. (a list of these acronyms is reported in the annex 4). Their work, on the contrary, did not go into the exploration of within-country determinants of students’ achievement.
There are few studies analysing specifically the determinants of Italian students’ achievement and performance. The most extensive effort, in the economics field, has been put by researchers at the Milan University, which were collected in a book with the objective to provide a wide-range set of explanations for achievement differentials among Italian students. This research used OECD-PISA2003 data, and the analysis was carried out at student-level. The methodological approach was to estimate an Educational Production Function (EPF), by using student achievement (OECD-PISA scores) as outputs, and several students and schools’ characteristics as inputs. Moreover, the analysis controlled also for some major factors affecting student performance, like school location, the type of schools, etc. Given the richness of their results, it is impossible to summarize them in few rows.

This post was written by , posted on December 30, 2013 Monday at 12:05 pm