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Showing posts from January, 2014

The high cost of truancy

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by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education and Skills

Resisting authority may be some teenagers’ sport of preference, but they’re hobbling themselves if they think that skipping school is cool. Results from PISA 2012 show that playing truant is related to significantly poorer performance in mathematics, which has repercussions on students’ futures, and on the performance of their school and school system. But all parents and teachers have the means to reduce the incidence of truancy.

This month’s PISA in Focus examines the cost of student truancy. Across OECD countries, 18% of students skipped at least one class and 15% skipped at least an entire day of school without authorisation in the two weeks prior to the PISA test. On average across OECD countries, skipping classes is associated with a 32-point lower score in mathematics and skipping days of school is associated with a 52-point lower score. In Japan, Korea and Chinese Taipei, the score-point difference associated with…

Japan finds inspiration in its PISA results

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by Miki Tadakazu
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

PISA 2012 showed mixed results for Japan. While Japanese students maintained their strong performance in mathematics, reading and science, the assessment found that 15-year-olds in Japan take less pleasure in learning mathematics and have less interest and motivation in doing so than the average student across OECD countries although Japanese students’ interest and motivation have improved since 2003. The Japanese government is using these findings to improve both the way students learn and what they learn.

Up until 2002, Japanese primary and secondary students attended school six days per week. Saturday schooling was eliminated that year in an effort to let students have a wide variety of activities and experiences outside of school. But after that reform was adopted, educators realised that inequities in schooling began to develop. In particular, while advantaged students benefited from Saturday studies at the privately o…

Our Ageing Societies

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by Tracey Burns
Analyst and Project Leader, Directorate for Education and Skills

The G8 leaders met in London in mid-December with a special goal: developing a cure for dementia by 2025. Finding a cure for dementia has become a social and economic imperative. Dementia currently affects 44 million people worldwide, a number forecasted to reach 135 million by 2050. According to the World Health Organisation, the disease cost the world 439 billion euros in 2010. In addition to these stark figures, there is a psychological toll: dementia has replaced cancer as the disease people fear the most.

Education has a role to play: Higher levels of education can impede the onset of dementia. And although cognitive abilities generally tend to decline with age, it is possible to slow or even reverse the downtrend. A just released Trends Shaping Education Spotlight looks at the role of education in our ageing societies.

Average life expectancy across OECD countries has risen from 69 years in 1970 to a…