Comment on the planned reversal of the Polish educational reform of 1999

We received a commentary from Dr. Dániel Horn and Luca Drucker – the authors of the recent paper on the Polish reform of 1999. The authors emphasize labour market benefits of the reform as their analysis shows that “on average, students that had the chance to attend the gimnazjum are around 2-3% more likely to be employed and earn 3-4% more, than those, who spent 8 years in the general schools.” They also comment on the recent proposal of the Polish government to reverse the reform: “While these results might come as a surprise to the critics of the reform of 1999, they are not at all surprising to international academics, who deal with educational issues”.

New evidence on Polish education reforms

Recent paper by Luca Drucker and Daniel Horn provides evidence on the long-term effects of the Polish reform of 1999. The research shows improved employability and earnings for the cohort affected by the reform. The effects are more pronounced for the lowest educated. This is in line with previous findings just published in Education Economics that the reform improved performance of the weakest students. Read more about the Polish 1999 reform on our website or contact us if you have any further questions.

Reading achievement progress across countries

A new paper by the Evidence Institute experts Maciej Jakubowski and Artur Pokropek compares progress in reading achievement across countries. They use innovative methods to reliably compare primary school results from PIRLS to secondary school results from PISA. The research suggests that achievement progress is lower in early-tracking countries, e.g. those who segregate students between academic and vocational tracks before the age of 15 or earlier. The paper provides also evidence that in majority of countries girls progress more so the gender gap in reading widens between the age of 10 and 15. Full paper can be found here. Figure below compares achievement progress estimates among European countries for the PIRLS 2006 to PISA 2009 comparison. Please contact us for additional information and results.

Measuring Education Outcomes

What can student achievement surveys tell us about school outcomes? How important are those surveys for society and the future economy? Can we reliably measure adults’ skills? Which skills are measurable and which are not? Maciej Jakubowski, leader of the Evidence Institute, joined World Bank’s Google Hangout discussion about various issues concerning the OECD surveys of student achievement and adult skills.

Common challenges, different outcomes

Poland and its neighboring countries began the transition to democratic market economies around 1990. Although Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary started from the same point, Poland reformed its education system so that all students had equal education opportunities until they were 16 years old. Neighboring countries still separate students into different education “tracks” very early, allowing only a relatively few students to pursue more ambitious programs.  A recent paper by Maciej Jakubowski compares changes in the Polish education system to changes in neighboring countries. It explains how policies can affect student outcomes in a relatively short period of time.