This report examines the impact of one of the most controversial policy discussion topics, i.e., education standardization, otherwise known as tracking, from a standpoint of efficiency and fairness. The list of the pros and cons of tracking involves mainly acknowledging the conflicting natures of efficiency and fairness and giving priority to one or the other. This report aims to investigate how realistic these attitudes about the true nature of standardized education really are. Toward this end, this report aims to (1) provide an overview of the vast pool of academic papers about the effect of tracking on academic performance; (2) explore the relationship between the efficiency (represented by the average academic performance) and fairness (represented by the disparity in academic performance) of tracking, according to the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which measures the scholastic performance of students worldwide, and; (3) conduct a case study on the education system in Finland, which received high scores in both academic performance and fairness.
The overview shows that while the academic papers arrive at a number of different conclusions, they all agree that tracking generally does not affect overall academic performance in any significant way and aggravates the disparity in academic performance. This phenomenon is again observed in the international comparison conducted by PISA, where the indicators of efficiency (average academic performance, and residuals from the regression of average academic performance) and indicators of fairness (standard deviation of academic performance and impact of students’ socioeconomic backgrounds on their academic performance) do not show a clearly negative correlation, and are sometimes positively correlated. Despite having an integrated education system, Finland scored highly in education efficiency, according to PISA. This is believed to be a result of Finland’s several attempts at reform with the aim of improving efficiency without compromising the principles of integrated education, including the reduction of the number of students per classroom, employment of new teaching methods ideally suited for integrated education, revising plans to train teachers accordingly, and actively engaging low-performing students in the early stages.
In conclusion, when evaluated from the perspective of average academic performance, the efficiency levels of education show that there is room for improvements that do not involve tracking. To answer the question of whether a country should operate on a tracking-education basis, one must begin with the question of whether the education system seeks to maximize the number of talented students or reduce the number of untalented students.
초중등교육의 형평성과 효율성에 대한 일 연구(A study on the efficiency and equity of primary and secondary education)
학업성취도별 학생배치의 효과를 중심으로(Focusing on the effect of tracking)
|Series Title; No||정책연구시리즈|
|Subject Country||South Korea(Asia and Pacific)|
|Subject||Social Development < Education|
|Holding||KDI; KDI School|