The reduction in the number of students per class is a public policy with advantages and disadvantages that have received widespread discussion. On the one hand, this enables more individualised teaching in which teachers gain the opportunity to better identify the needs of each student. On the other hand, smaller class sizes may reduce the heterogeneity in the group as well as cutting the scope of autonomy of each student and undermining the purpose of cooperative works in addition to generating logistical problems for schools in terms of both facilities and human resources.
One year of pandemic and various months of school closures later, ascertaining the losses in learning takes on particular relevance. This also begins a debate on the potential programs for recovering this lost learning, particularly among those already registering difficulties prior to the pandemic or that are integrated into more disadvantaged household contexts.
Education is no stranger to technological innovation. However, doubts remain about the effectiveness of the use of technology in education. What scientific evidence is there showing that the use of tablets and computers improves student performance? A very recent study used PISA data from over 80,000 students to try to answer these and other questions.
The challenge of defining timetables is common to most schools and has more or less obvious consequences on pupils' lives. A study just out adds new data to what research has told us about the importance of the time of day for classes to take place. After all, is there a specific timetable for good results?
At the beginning of yet another school year, many students are preparing to enter the first year of primary school. For many parents, this is also a time of uncertainty. Many doubt the maturity of their children to face this new period in their lives. Questions about the age of entry to school are of great relevance, especially for the parents of pupils who were born in the last months of the year and who will have a higher age difference from their classmates.
An equal test for all allows students, parents and schools to have a better perception of the level of knowledge of each student and the state of education of the country. Whilst there is evidence that the tests are an incentive to achieve learning goals, criticism remains about their effect on non-examined subjects. What do the scientific studies on examinations actually conclude?
The compulsory shutdown of schools and universities enhances the importance of understanding what is already known about the impact of online classes on student achievement. A very recent study at a Swiss public university reveals that this means of teaching can aggravate the differences between the least and most successful students.
One of the main objectives of creating vocational paths (a) in the education system is to facilitate the transition between school and the labour market, creating different paths and curricula that enable professional qualification and, in many cases, the completion of compulsory education.
Entry into the labour market and the wage level depend largely on the choices made along the educational path. And inequalities in the working world often reflect a reality that has been built up since the years spent at school. It is therefore relevant to identify the causes of inequality in school performance and consequently in the level of qualifications and earnings among workers.
Retaining low-achieving students has a limited, sometimes positive, sometimes negative effect on them. The question is much more complex, though: would the training of all pupils improve or worsen with the possible abolition of retention? What internal and external evaluation tools would be needed to mainstream such a policy? Some rigorous studies, both international and national, provide several clues.
More and more children attend pre-schools. A decision taken by many parents for professional reasons, but which ultimately benefits children's long-term school performance.
How can you define a good teacher? Why do some have more impact than others on their students' learning? And how does this translate into students' lives? The economics of education attempts to answer these questions by using concrete measures.