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ERIC Number: EJ1020649
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1523-1615
The International Efficiency of American Education: The Bad and the Not-So-Bad News
Heyneman, Stephen P.
Current Issues in Comparative Education, v16 n1 p74-89 Win 2013
There is ample evidence to suggest that American schools perform worse than schools in many other countries. The U.S. ranks toward the bottom of the industrialized nations on international tests of academic achievement in science and mathematics. Not only may American schools perform worse but they may do so at the same time as they use more resources than other school systems. In essence, American schools may not only be poor in quality but less efficient. This paper will explore some of the evidence on education efficiency. It will suggest that in many ways the assumption is correct, American schools are less efficient. It will suggest that the reason for the inefficiency of American schools is the difference in the "demand to learn" between American and other school children. But the paper will also explore evidence that suggests that American schools are not less efficient and in one new way of looking at the problem, this paper will argue that American schools are more efficient than the schools in the Republic of Korea, one of the world's leading school systems. The paper will conclude with some advice on the proper role which international comparisons may play in the design of domestic education policy.
Teachers College, Columbia University. International and Transcultural Studies, P.O. Box 211, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Korea; United States
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment; Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A