Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Student Effort, Educational Attainment and the World Cup

There was a paper delivered today by Simon Burgess (Bristol University); on international football tournaments, study effort and GCSE exam performance; at the UCD Geary Behavioural Seminar Series. Today's seminar paper, "Student Effort, Educational Attainment and the World Cup" (with Rob Metcalfe and Steven Proud) is not online yet, but readers can investigate further research by the speaker: here.

An abstract for today's paper is available here on the website of the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER). The authors "use a sharp, exogenous and repeated change in the value of leisure to identify the impact of student effort on educational performance. Performance is measured using the universal high-stakes tests that students in schools in England take at the end of compulsory schooling. The treatment arises from the fact that the world’s major international football tournaments overlap with the exam period in schools in England, well known to be a nation obsessed with football."

Professor Burgess is Director of the Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO). For those interested in research on the economics of education (and other domains of applied micro), the CMPO blog and twitter feed are worth following.

3 comments:

Kevin Denny said...

Lets hope there are no exams scheduled for this evening.

Enda Hargaden said...

I had my Junior Cert Geography exam during the Ireland vs Germany game in the 2002 World Cup. Robbie Keane equalised in the 93rd minute. I was writing about the earth's crust.

All things considered, I think I should have stayed at home that day.

Martin Ryan said...

I look forward to the paper being made available. I hope the authors won't mind if I share the main policy recommendation: to start the academic year earlier in England so that GCSE exams always occur before international football tournaments. Whether students are 'revising' during an international football tournament (after studying hard the year previous); or 'cramming' (studying much material for the first time); the paper shows that exam-season is a "high-value" period for student effort. And that an international football tournament can compromise this: potentially even beyond the 8 hours of England football that would be played. The quality of remaining study-time could be lower due to a sense of distraction.