"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Monday, February 1, 2016

If You Are a Boy and You Are Attending a Poor School....

"Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members -- the last, the least, the littlest."
- Cardinal Roger Mahony

We can evaluate educational systems by measuring learning outcomes. We can compare countries by using scores from international standardized exams. At a smaller scale, we can even compare schools. Yet, these comparisons can always be viewed as placing an apple and an orange side by side. Some schools have more resources. Excuses can be made. Thus, as we do in analytical chemistry, it is useful to have an internal standard. The above words of Cardinal Mahony provide guidance on the standard that may be employed.

In School Quality and the Gender Gap in Educational Achievement, David Autor and coworkers have identified one measure that correlates with school quality: The gap in learning outcomes between boys and girls. This is shown in one of the graphs from their paper:

Above copied from
School Quality and the Gender Gap in Educational Achievement
The above graph clearly shows how the gap widens as the school quality deteriorates. A previous post in this blog, In Adversity, Boys Suffer More, another paper from Autor and coworkers was highlighted. That paper demonstrated that race, poverty, broken homes, and low parental educational attainment led to larger differences between boys and girls. School Quality and the Gender Gap in Educational Achievement takes this study one notch higher. School factors can likewise affect the gender gap and schools of lower quality lead to greater gender differences. 

As in the previous post in this blog, the following data are once again shared:

Data from Annual Poverty Indicator Survey 2013 and DepEd, Philippines

The gaps above are quite substantial. Take, for instance, the difference in scores between boys and girls in the National Achievement Test. This difference is about four tenths of the standard deviation in the exam. Using the graph above, this gap is in fact off scale, which provides quite a sobering insight on the current status of Philippine basic education.

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