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The educational efficiency drivers in Uruguay: Findings from PISA 2009.

Santín, Daniel and Sicilia, Gabriela (2012): The educational efficiency drivers in Uruguay: Findings from PISA 2009.

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Abstract

The aim of this research is to identify the main drivers of secondary school efficiency in Uruguay. We are particularly interested in identifying which variables could be influenced by the design of public policies in order to improve academic outcomes with the current resource allocation. To do this, we build a two-stage semiparametric model using PISA 2009 database. In the first stage, we use data envelopment analysis (DEA) to estimate efficiency scores, which are then regressed on school and student contextual variables. This second stage is carried out using four alternative models: a conventional censured regression (Tobit) and three different regression models based on the use of bootstrapping recently proposed in the literature. The results show an average inefficiency of 7.5% for the evaluated Uruguayan schools, suggesting that there is room for improving academic outcomes by adopting appropriate educational policies. Following on from this, the findings of the second stage demonstrate that increasing educational resources, such as reducing class size, has no significant effects on efficiency. In contrast, educational policies should focus on reviewing grade-retention policies, teaching-learning techniques, assessment systems and, most importantly, encouraging students to spend more time reading after school in order to reduce inefficiencies.

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