Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law Stanford University


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Student Achievement and National Economic Growth

Journal Article

Francisco Ramirez - Stanford University
Xiaowei Luo
Evan Schofer
John Meyer - Stanford University

Published by
American Journal of Education, Vol. 113, page(s) 1-29
August 8, 2006

Educational policy around the world has increasingly focused on improving aggregate student achievement as a means to increase economic growth. In the last two decades, attention has focused especially on the importance of achievement in science and mathematics. Yet, the policy commitments involved have not been based on research evidence. The expansion of cross-national achievement testing in recent decades makes possible longitudinal analyses of the effects of achievement on growth, and we carry out such analyses here. Regression analyses appear to show some effects of science and mathematics achievement on growth, but these effects are due mainly to the inclusion of the four "Asian Tigers" and are not consistent over time. These empirical findings call into question educational policy discourse that emphasizes strong causal links between achievement and growth.