Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2020:18: New Evidence on the Importance of Instruction Time for Student Achievement on International Assessments

Jan Bietenbeck () and Matthew Collins ()
Additional contact information
Jan Bietenbeck: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Matthew Collins: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: We revisit and substantially extend the evidence on the importance of instruction time for student achievement on international assessments. We first successfully replicate the estimate of a positive effect of weekly instruction time in the seminal paper by Lavy (Economic Journal, 125, F397-F424) in a narrow sense. We then extend the analysis to data from other international student assessments and find effects that are consistently smaller in magnitude. We provide suggestive evidence that this divergence is partly due to different measurement of instruction time in the data used in the original paper. Our results suggest that differences in instruction time play a less important role than previously thought for explaining international gaps in student achievement.

Keywords: instruction time; student achievement; PISA; TIMSS

JEL-codes: I21

22 pages, September 3, 2020

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