An eclectic approach to estimating the determinants of achievement in Jamaican primary education

Paul Glewwe, Margaret Grosh, Hanan Jacoby, Marlaine Lockheed

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This article estimates the determinants of cognitive skills in Jamaican primary education. We take an eclectic approach, integrating the production function framework favored by economists with the concerns of educators about pedagogical processes and those of sociologists regarding school organization and management. At the same time, we correct for selectivity biases induced by school choice. We use an unusually rich data set, the 1990 Jamaican Survey of Living Conditions, which includes not only scores on cognitive achievement tests but also detailed information on each child's household and the primary school he or she attends. We find that all three components-physical and pedagogical inputs, pedagogical practices, and school organization and climate- influence student achievement. Our policy simulations suggest that a focus on inputs alone may be misplaced in school systems with input levels as high as those found in Jamaica; school reforms that concentrate on just a few pedagogical practices could lead to substantial improvements in student achievement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-258
Number of pages28
JournalWorld Bank Economic Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1995

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Paul Glewwe and Margaret Grosh are with the Policy Research Department at the World Bank, Hanan Jacoby is with the Department of Economics at the University of Rochester, and Marlaine Lockheed is with the Education and Social Policy Department at the World Bank. Financial support was provided by the World Bank Research Committee (RPO 676-87). The Jamaican Ministry of Education collaborated extensively in designing the survey instruments, implementing the surveys, and providing access to administrative records. The Planning Insritute of Jamaica provided further support, and the Statistical Insritute of Jamaica carried out the extremely demanding survey work. The authors would aUo like to recognize the many contributions of their late Jamaican collaborator, Dr. Derek Gordon. Henri Jeancard and Qinghua Zhao provided computational assistance.


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