OECD Reviews of School Resources: Austria 2016

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The effective use of school resources is a policy priority across OECD countries. The OECD Reviews of School Resources explore how resources can be governed, distributed, utilised and managed to improve the quality, equity and efficiency of school education.

The series considers four types of resources: financial resources, such as public funding of individual schools; human resources, such as teachers, school leaders and education administrators; physical resources, such as location, buildings and equipment; and other resources, such as learning time.

This series offers timely policy advice to both governments and the education community. It includes both country reports and thematic studies.


Executive summary

The Austrian school system benefits from high levels of investment. Although education has also faced some budget cuts and budget pressures seem to be increasing, the recent economic and financial crisis did not yet have a strong impact on the education budget. An international comparison of spending data indicates still relatively high general levels of public investment in education in Austria. The school infrastructure is good and classes are relatively small and student-teacher ratios relatively low. However, there is concern that the country’s considerable commitment of resources to education has not sufficiently been translated into educational success as measured through international surveys. In the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012, the mean performance of Austrian 15-year-olds was only slightly above the OECD average and below the level of other European countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Finland. While Austria had a comparatively small share of low performers, the country also had a small share of top performers. There are also continued concerns about equity. Student’s socio‐economic background has a key impact on their achievement and educational trajectory through Austria’s stratified school system that is characterised by early tracking and selection. Students with an immigrant background are at particular risk of underperformance. Hence, the main challenge does not lie in expanding investments, but in using available resources more effectively and efficiently to improve the quality and equity of schooling.

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