Education Notes

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Education Notes is a series produced by the World Bank to share lessons learned from innovative approaches to improving education practice and policy around the globe. Background work for this piece was done in partnership, with support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

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    Education Finance : It's How, Not Simply How Much, That Counts
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-02) Vegas, Emiliana ; Coffin, Chelsea
    The precise relationship between spending and learning outcomes in education is unknown, which leads some researchers and policy makers to question whether the amount of spending in education matters at all (Hanushek 1986). Among countries with similar levels of income, those that spend more on education do not necessarily score higher on international assessments such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Even within an education system, student achievement varies among localities that spend comparable amounts (Wag staff and Wang 2011). The observation that learning outcomes are seemingly unrelated to spending levels supports the argument that how money is spent, not simply how much, matters in education finance. Education spending represents the point at which monetary resources begin to promote learning outcomes. National, subnational, and local governments; the private sector; and sometimes even international actors may spend money on public education. Fiscal control mechanisms are crucial for understanding education finance systems; they are used to plan, monitor, and execute a country's education budget. If resources are not used for their intended purpose, it is unlikely that education services will be of adequate quality.
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    Learning from the Best : Improving Learning Through Effective Teacher Policies
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-02) Vegas, Emiliana ; Ganimian, Alejandro ; Jaimovich, Analia
    An education system is only as good as its teachers. Both developed and developing countries have increasingly become concerned with increasing the effectiveness of their teachers. Successful education systems achieve the eight SABER-Teacher teacher policy goals in different ways, but they all produce superior student and teacher performance. The World Bank has studied top-performing systems. These systems are particularly effective at attracting the best individuals to the teaching profession and preparing them exceptionally. Once teachers enter the profession, the system grants them ample discretion to decide how to best achieve superior student performance and focuses on supporting them rather than trying to steer them in any particular direction. Finland provides a good example of this type of system. These systems also place considerable trust in teachers. Such systems are built on the notion that excellent teaching is not the responsibility of a single instructor, but rather, of the profession as a whole. Thus, they institute mechanisms that foster collaboration and encourage teachers to hold their peers accountable for the quality of their work. Shanghai, China, offers a good example of this type of system. These systems exert tight control over teachers' daily work in the classroom. They provide teachers with detailed guidelines, closely monitor the execution of these guidelines, and use multiple incentives to reward outstanding teaching. At the same time, accountability mechanisms tackle poor teacher effort and performance.