Author(s): Newman, John L.; King, Elizabeth M.; Abdul-Hamid, Husein
Organisation(s): Education Commission
Pages: 36 p.
This paper examines the relationship between the quality of a country’s educational system and education outcomes. Previous country-level analyses of the factors that affect education outcomes have focused on measures of school inputs such as average pupil-teacher ratios, teacher characteristics, and availability of learning materials. The capacity of the education system to translate these inputs into education outcomes has not been researched in the same way because internationally comparable measures of the quality of the system have not been available. This paper takes advantage of a unique database which has system-level data on different education policy areas for a large number of countries. It also takes advantage of the greater availability of comparable learning data now across countries, in addition to country data on recent completed years of schooling and people’s view of their education system. Specifically, the paper sets out to examine whether countries with a better education system have, on average, better education outcomes, controlling for their level of educaton expenditure and percapita GDP. Although the data on the quality of the education system can be improved significantly, the findings indicate consistently that better education systems do yield better education outcomes. This paper was prepared as a background paper for the report, The Learning Generation: Investing in education for a changing world.