Student Achievement One indicator of schooling quality


Student Achievement
One indicator of schooling quality is students’ scores on internationally, standardised or
nationally comparable tests of achievement in knowledge, skills, behaviour, and attitudes.
The effects of non-school inputs, such as parental background, would have to be held
constant to isolate the effect of schooling on test scores. The tests of cognitive
achievement are good predictors of students’ future earnings (Bishop, 1992); Boissiere,
Knight, & Sabot, 1985). Evidence also shows that test scores are highly correlated with
economic performance in aggregated data. Hanushek and Kimko (2000) find that test
scores are positively related to growth rates of real per capita GDP in cross-country. This
indicates that the quality of education, in addition to the quantity, is an important
ingredient of human capital formation.
School Resources
Resources available to the students in schools can influence students’ achievement.
Various indicators such as pupil-teacher ratios, expenditure per pupil, teacher salary and
educational level, availability of teaching materials can measure these resources.
Although certain teaching strategies can be effective even for very large classes, students
are often unruly in these settings. Moreover,

 teachers in large classes tend to focus more
on rote learning, rather than on problem solving skills (Psacharopoulos & Woodhall,
1985). Another resource of a school necessary for achieving quality is the intensity of
operation. The length of the term indicates how intensively schools are operated but can
also be a signal of how importantly school education is perceived in a society.
Pupil-Teacher Ratios
Actual class size may be larger than measured pupil-teacher ratios because of teacher
absenteeism and specialization. On the other hand, class sizes would be lower than
observed pupil-teacher ratios in multiple-shift systems (where students attend school on
double or triple shift rather than at the same time). Some researchers argue that measured
pupil-teacher ratios are reasonable approximations of actual class sizes, especially, at
primary schools (Lockheed et. al., 1991). Education quality is much higher when the
pupil-teacher ratio is much lower and this improves students’ achievement.
School Enrolment
One initial issue is the age at which children are enrolled for the first time. While primary
education is officially meant to start at age 5 or 6 in most countries, late enrolment is
common in Ghana, for a variety of reasons, e.g. Children’s participation in family
economic activities and the difficulty of walking to distant schools.
Retention, Repetition and Dropout Rates in School
Once children are enrolled, it is crucial to ensure that they remain at school long enough
to complete the curriculum and acquire basic skills. For a variety of school or familyrelated reasons, large numbers of children drop out of school, or more accurately, are
pushed out (e.g. by the costs of schooling or by a child-unfriendly environment in the
classroom) or drawn out to participate in household economic activities before
completing school. In Ghana, the government has currently introduced a policy of free
feeding of pupils and banned all fees at the basic schools in order that money does not
become an inhibitive factor for pupils’ access to quality education (National Consultative
Workshop group report, November, 2005).
Level of pupils repeating a class also determines the quality of the education system.
High repetition rate will indicate a lower quality of schooling or a lower raw material of
students. Repetition rate is measured as the percentage of repeaters in the total number of
students enrolled at a given level The rate of repetition would, however, also be
influenced by variations in the promotion standards of schools. Repetition rates at the
primary level are much higher in the developing countries. At the secondary level, the
repetition rates are similar.
Teacher Quality
How teachers are prepared for teaching is a critical indicator of education quality.
Teacher quality depends not only on observable and stable indicators but also on the
quality of training they receive. It also depends on the behaviour and the nature of the
relationship teachers maintain with their pupils or students. The potential indicators deal
with such aspects as:
- academic qualification

 pedagogical training
- years of service/experience
- ability or aptitude
-content knowledge
Preparing teachers for the challenges of a teaching career means equipping them with
subject-specific expertise, effective teaching practices, an understanding of technology
and the ability to work collaboratively with other teachers, members of the community
and parents. Available data suggest that large proportions of primary school teachers in
Africa lack adequate academic qualifications, training and content knowledge, especially
in developing countries.

 In Ghana, although the entry qualification for teacher training is
six subjects in Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE), an ongoing
study has revealed that an average of 65% of candidates admitted have very low entry
qualifications of aggregates between 21 and 24 (Ankomah, 2005). A parallel of Ghana’s
situation 30% of teachers in their first year of experience met the standards (postsecondary) in the Gambia. The proportions were even lower in Botswana (10%), Lesotho
(11%) and Chad (19%), where the standard was an upper-secondary qualification and in
Togo (2%), Guinea Bissau (15%) and Cameroun (15%), where it was lower secondary

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