PISA

ISSN :
1996-3777 (online)
ISSN :
1990-8539 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/19963777
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A series of reports on the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment’s (PISA) periodic testing program on student performance. The reports generally compare student (15 year olds) academic performance across countries, or discuss the methodology used to gather the data.

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Grade Expectations

Grade Expectations

How Marks and Education Policies Shape Students' Ambitions You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
18 Dec 2012
Pages :
140
ISBN :
9789264187528 (PDF) ; 9789264187504 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264187528-en

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While enrolment in tertiary education has increased dramatically over the past decades, many university-aged students do not enrol, nor do they expect to earn a university degree. While it is important to promote high expectations for further education, it is equally important to ensure that students’ expectations are well-aligned with their actual abilities. Grade Expectations: How Marks and Education Policies Shape Students' Ambitions reveals some of the factors that influence students’ thinking about further education. The report also suggests what teachers and education policy makers can do to ensure that more students have the skills, as well as the motivation, to succeed in higher education.
 
In 2009, students in 21 PISA-participating countries and economies were asked about their expected educational attainment. An analysis of PISA data finds that students who expect to earn a university degree show significantly better performance in math and reading when compared to students who do not expect to earn such a university degree. However, performance is only one of the factors that determine expectations. On average across most countries and economies, girls and socio-economically advantaged students tend to hold more ambitious expectations than boys and disadvantaged students who perform just as well; and students with higher school marks are more likely to expect to earn a university degree – regardless of what those marks really measure.

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    Foreword

    The expansion of the knowledge-based economy and technological progress has created a large market of highly paid jobs for individuals who are highly skilled. Moreover, in much of the industrialised world, the demand for highly-skilled individuals is rising faster than supply, as mirrored in rising wage premia on university-level qualifications. Leveraging the talent of all individuals, whatever their social background, must therefore be an important goal for educators and policy makers alike.

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    Executive Summary

    The expansion of the knowledge-based economy and technological progress has created a large market of highly paid jobs for individuals who are highly skilled. Individuals who attend university receive substantial economic payoffs and societies also benefit from a highly skilled workforce.

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    Introduction

    This introduction describes the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Educational Career questionnaire that was distributed among students with the 2009 PISA survey, and how they can be used to study students’ educational career expectations and the behaviours rewarded by school systems through school marks.

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    What Do Students Expect to Do after Upper Secondary School?

    This chapter identifies the factors that shape 15-year-old students’ expectations of further education, including academic performance, the structural particularities of the education system, gender and socio-economic background. It also compares students’ expectations across countries and economies, and by the type of education programme in which students are enrolled. The problems associated with a misalignment between expectations and actual performance are discussed, as are students’ expectations of social mobility.

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    What Behaviours Do Teachers Reward?

    This chapter examines the uses and significance of school marks. It discusses the kinds of behaviours, habits and attitudes that teachers reward with better marks, some of which may be unrelated to student learning. It also explores differences in how countries and economies distribute marks and suggests ways of improving the effectiveness of school marks.

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    What Is the Relationship between Marks and Educational Expectations?

    Do students’ school marks shape their expectations about their future? This chapter examines the relationship between school marks and students’ expectations of completing a university education. It also discusses how marks can reduce – or reinforce – inequalities in those expectations between socio-economically advantaged and disadvantaged students, and between girls and boys.

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    Policy Recommendations

    This concluding chapter recommends measures teachers and school systems can take to ensure that students’ expectations of their future are well-aligned with their prospects, including by encouraging teachers to use grading practices that are objective and criterion-based, working with employers to create a smooth transition from upper secondary school into the labour market, and establishing well-defined paths to enter university.

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    Annex A. The Educational Career Questionnaire
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    Annex B. Data Tables on Educational Expectations and Markes
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