ERIC Number: ED398618
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Nov-9
Impacts of School Organization and Signalling on Incentives To Learn in France, the Netherlands, England, Scotland and the United States. Working Paper 93-21.
Bishop, John H.
Despite similar cultural roots and standards of living, the secondary education systems of France, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and the United States produce remarkably different levels of achievement in mathematics and science. An examination of achievement at a given age shows that the French and Dutch have learned the most, Americans the least, and British somewhere in between. Section 2 examines the proximate causes of achievement differentials among the French, Dutch, British, and American secondary students. It concludes that the achievement differences are caused by differences in the quality of teacher inputs and the quality and quantity of student time-and-effort inputs. Section 3 argues that changes in the structure of rewards are as important as changes in the level of rewards. A conclusion is that students, parents, teachers, and administrators in France and the Netherlands have much stronger incentives for academic excellence than do their counterparts in the United States. The French and the Dutch models of secondary education combine in one system many of the most drastic reforms that have been proposed for the United States: (1) externally set, subject-specific achievement exams taken by almost all high school students; (2) parental choice of uppersecondary school and special field of study with money following students; (3) 30 percent higher teacher salaries and rigorous standards for entry into secondary school teaching; (4) high standards for admission to postsecondary education; and (5) mastery learning with strictly enforced sanctions in cases of failure. Four exhibits and 6 tables are included. The appendix describes the structure of the French secondary system. (Contains 70 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: German Marshall Fund of the United States, Washington, DC.; Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, PA.; Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce, Philadelphia, PA.