OECD Education Working Papers

1993-9019 (online)
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This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected studies drawing on the work of the OECD Directorate for Education. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language (English or French) with a short summary available in the other.

The Efficiency of Secondary Schools in an International Perspective

Preliminary Results from PISA 2012 You or your institution have access to this content

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Tommaso Agasisti1, Pablo Zoido2
Author Affiliations
  • 1: Politecnico di Milano School of Management, Italy

  • 2: OECD, France

05 May 2015
Bibliographic information

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As governments around the world struggle with doing more with less, efficiency analysis climbs to the top of the policy agenda. This paper derives efficiency measures for more than 8,600 schools in 30 countries, using PISA 2012 data and a bootstrap version of Data Envelopment Analysis as a method. We estimate that given current levels of inputs it would be possible to increase achievement by as much as 27% if schools improved the way they use these resources and realised efficiency gains. We find that efficiency scores vary considerably both between and within countries. Subsequently, through a second-stage regression, a number of school-level factors are found to be correlated with efficiency scores, and indicate potential directions for improving educational results. We find that many efficiency-enhancing factors vary across countries, but our analysis suggests that targeting the proportion of students below low proficiency levels and putting attention to students’ good attitudes (for instance, lower truancy), as well as having better quality of resources (i.e. teachers and educational facilities), foster better results in most contexts.
efficiency, international comparisons, equity
JEL Classification:
  • C14: Mathematical and Quantitative Methods / Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General / Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
  • I21: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Analysis of Education
  • I24: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Education and Inequality
  • I28: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Education: Government Policy
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