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Learning in rural schools: Insights from PISA, TALIS and the literature (OECD Education Working Paper No. 196)
Summary of the paper (PISA in Focus No. 94)

Based on a review of research and an analysis of data from PISA 2015 and TALIS 2013, the paper looks at students’ learning experience in rural contexts and the learning outcomes and educational expectations of rural students. As the paper finds, some challenges such as shortcomings in the material resources or staff shortages in rural schools are far from universal. On average across OECD countries, rural students perform less well than their urban peers and hold lower educational expectations. While performance differences are largely explained by socio-economic factors, they persist for educational expectations – which highlights the importance of raising aspirations and creating opportunities for rural students.


Regulating Publicly Funded Private Schools (OECD Education Working Paper No. 147) 

As school choice is an increasingly common feature of OECD education systems, the regulation of publicly funded private schools has become a salient concern for researchers and policy makers alike. Focussing on three areas of regulation – selective admission, add-on tuition fees and for-profit ownership – this paper provides a review of the theoretical and empirical literature concerning their effects on equity and educational effectiveness. It also offers an overview of different countries’ approaches to the funding of private education and the methodological challenges involved in their empirical evaluation. 


Budgeting and Accounting in OECD Education Systems (OECD Education Working Paper No. 128)

In the context of the renewed interest for the optimisation of resource use, this paper attempts to review the literature on budgeting and accounting in OECD education systems. This report first explores governance questions underlying budgeting and accounting. Subsequently, the report reviews procedures and tools adopted by countries for budgeting and accounting. Finally, it presents methods for evaluation and monitoring of resource use. The paper attempts to identify trends and commonalities in country practices in primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.


Student Learning Time (OECD Education Working Paper No. 127)

This paper examines student learning time as a key educational resource. It presents an overview of how different OECD countries allocate instruction time. It also develops a model to understand the effective use of allocated instruction time and examines how different OECD countries compare on this. The paper confirms the value of sufficient instruction time as a key educational resource, but the key conclusion is that what matters the most is the way in which allocated time is used. Student learning time and academic achievement seem to have complex and curvilinear relationship with diminishing returns to scale. 


Learning Support Staff  (OECD Education Working Paper No. 125)

With learning support staff an increasing part of the school workforce that is assuming more and more teaching related responsibilities, attention has grown as to how their skills and practices can have the greatest impact on students. “Learning support staff” are defined as those school staff whose main function is to assist the work of teachers. This paper reviews country approaches to the roles and responsibilities of learning support staff. It discusses the different mechanisms through which learning support staff can have an impact on teachers’ work and student achievement and reviews the related empirical evidence.


School Size Policies  (OECD Education Working Paper No. 106)

This literature review attempts to bridge different strands of relevant research and describes existing country practices in order to provide a broader picture of the benefits and costs associated with different school sizes. The paper describes the different trends that have affected school enrolment and how different countries have managed school size policies, with a particular focus on school consolidation. It discusses the consequences of school consolidation and the alternatives to consolidation when schools are facing declining enrolment. It also reviews the different mechanisms through which school size affects the quality and efficiency of schools, and the existing empirical evidence on these effects.


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