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School Discipline across Countries: Theory, Measurement and Effect

Gruber, Noam (2020): School Discipline across Countries: Theory, Measurement and Effect.

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Abstract

Using PISA truancy and tardiness data to generate estimates of school discipline comparable across countries, this paper finds a strong relation between both individual and school-level discipline and student performance. Furthermore, the data shows that the effect of discipline grows with class size, so that students in large classes can benefit the most from an atmosphere of discipline. This finding explains how Asian education systems in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong-Kong and Singapore are top performers in international student achievement tests while having exceptionally large classes. It also implies that some Western countries, enjoying high levels of discipline but opting for small classes, are inefficient in the use of their educational resources, leading to sub-optimal results by their students.

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