Ideas to Action:

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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

A “Rosetta Stone” for Comparing Test Scores Around the World (and Across the Global Income Distribution)

How much do educational outcomes around the world depend on where you were born? In a new CGD working paper, we propose a very simple strategy to overcome this problem and build a “Rosetta Stone” for test scores. We take a single sample of students and give them questions from each major exam around the world. By grading each child’s responses on the original test scales, we calculate scores on different exams for the same child on the same day.

Graph showing learning gain reported across different studies by standard deviation. Most are between .2 and .6 SDs

What Works in Edtech?

Edtech obviously has its limits as a replacement for school during pandemic-response closures. But for governments that do want to invest in edtech, where should they start? In this blog, we focus on the household-based interventions that could be most impactful during the current crisis

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Teacher Labor Markets

Even aside from their obvious, critical role in educating the next generation, there are a host of other reasons to care about teachers. In a new working paper, we look at why should you care about teacher labor markets, from the interaction between the wages offered and recruitment numbers targeted by employers to the decision by students and workers to seek to become teachers. Here are three reasons why.

A graph showing how many slides the teachers receiving virtual coaching accessed in their tablets, week by week

Virtual Teacher Coaching May Not Be the Solution We Hoped For

How can we help teachers to upgrade their pedagogical skills? Teacher coaching is a promising and increasingly popular candidate. Teacher coaching means teachers receive feedback in their place of work on specific things they can do better, not some general theory of pedagogy that’s completely disconnected from their day-to-day practice.

A map showing how countries around the world are handling the exam situation

Testing Times: The Exams “Debacle” in the UK and What COVID-19 Has Meant for High-stakes Exams Around the World

Thanks to COVID-19, national exams in England were replaced with a combination of school-allocated grades and a centralised algorithm leading to a set of results that were widely perceived as inequitable. What did other countries do, and was there any “good” option during this year of lengthy school closures? Using our COVID education tracker, we coded and mapped governments’ approaches to national exams in more than 100 countries where we could find reliable data.

A chart showing teachers’ earnings and hours

Teacher Pay in Africa

In our new study–“Are Teachers in Africa Poorly Paid? Evidence from 15 Countries”–we pulled together representative household data from 15 African nations in the last 10 years and examined how well teachers are paid relative to other workers with similar skill and experience.

A pair of charts showing that poorer students pass school leaving exams at much lower rates than richer peers in many countries, and that exam failure rates are extremely high in many countries

A Case for Abolishing High-stakes Exams—This Year and Every Year

There may be no government response that can fully mitigate COVID-19’s impact and maintain fairness for 2020’s exam candidates. But high-stakes exams are unfair every year, not just during a pandemic: large differences in home support and access to resources are not new. Exams reinforce income inequality, create perverse incentives in the classroom, and limit the number of students who could benefit from more education.

Map of the world showing distance-learning options by country in May 2020, with significantly improved coverage

Six Ways COVID-19 Will Shape the Future of Education

Most of us have been living with closed schools and some version of lockdown for four months now. For all the reimagining of education in the 21st century, nobody predicted that the greatest disruption of all would come from a virus. As education policymakers all over the world grapple with distance learning provision and safe school reopening, they will no doubt also be thinking about what the pandemic means for education in the longer term. We examine six ways COVID-19 is likely to shape the future of education.

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