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Educational Funding and Performance Relationship Annotated Bibliography

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Updated: Nov 26th, 2021

Introduction

Education marks the kingpin of the economy of any nation. This marks the tool through which a nation can sustain its economic and technological edge on the international platform. However, studies have pointed out great disparities in performance, especially in the international tests. This leaves several questions to be answered. What makes one country outperform another in certain areas? What roles can the government funding play to ensure that its citizens perform well in international tests? Many studies have been conducted in order to identify answers to the above questions. Many of them have aimed at portraying that teachers’ competence and the students’ economic status play an important role in the performance of the standards. However, attaining this calls for adequate funding. Accordingly, this paper seeks to identify the relationship between funding and the student’s performance on the international standardized test scores.

Education Funding

The topic of governmental funding in relation to the education standards on the international platform has been examined greatly. Tyre (2007), Edwards (2006), Gropman (2008), Hama (2007) and several other researchers have all pointed out that a nation’s performance on the international standardized tests is greatly implicated by the government’s funding on the education system. However, this view has not been echoed by all studies. Bogle (2003, par. 8) argues that funding has no implication on the performance of students on the tests. What an education system needs is good systems founded on good socialist approaches that will guarantee interests of the working class. Another theme that seems to run through these studies is the role of international standardized test scores and the competitiveness on the international job market. These studies point out that good performance on these tests simply reflects the country’s future in terms of economy and technology. These researchers argue that it is important that the United States government and other sponsoring bodies engage in financing of such tests so that the level of American education can be gauged and its weight measured against other developed countries (Tyre, 2003, par. 6; National Academies Press, 2003, p. 73).

However, the main purpose of this paper was to ascertain whether additional funding would positively affect the performance of students. Several studies tend to hypothesize that funding is very fundamental part of excellent performance. The National Academies Press (2003, p. 73) argues that the standard of performance increases with increased funding. These suppositions are echoed by Joined Taskforce on Basic Education who also point out that increased funding was a prerequisite for exemplary performance. However, does exemplary performance on the international standardized test scores have any implication on the economy? The answer is yes. The competitive edge of the American youth purely depends upon their performance on the international tests (FRBSF, 2008, p. 2). This shows that most of the studies found out that education in the United States has greatly deteriorated due to lack of funding.

This hypothesis has also been tested to show its validity. Some of the studies show the use of regression method to taste their validity. In the regression method, the test is based on the formula that is based on the relationship between the mean of Y against X. for the case of linear regression, the two are related in a straight line and its slope is equal to beta. Using this, many of the studies have been tested using this method. In their, study, FRBSF (2008) use this method to identify the relationship between different countries’ performance on the International Standardized test scores. Using this test, they were able to identify the differences in the various countries and were able to come up with the results that Norway were the best performers on the international platform in terms of college graduation rates while Sweden was found out to be the best country in terms of Adult literacy. Based on linear regression, the relationship between Y and X were established through the use of data collected which eventually helped establish the linear slope, beta which was actually the relationship between the countries and the performance on the international platform. On his part, Bogle (2003, par. 8) refutes the authenticity of these reports. He argues that most of them have been manipulated to favor the interests of the Republicans and teachers’ Unions that call for excessive funding so that they can use this opportunity to enrich themselves. According to him, it is true that the international performance of the United States’ students is poor. However, this is not attributed to funding. He posits that the inequality in the social setup is to be attributed to this failure.

One of the conclusions that runs through all these studies is the fact that the level of performance for United States students on the international tests has been deteriorating. In addition, they all conclude that education standards are directly related to the availability of teachers and the level of motivation that these teachers are subjected to (Gropman, 2008, par. 9). Other studies point out that education performance can only be improved if emphasis is laid on specific subjects of relevance. Of much importance is mathematics, sciences and foreign languages. These subjects, in addition to emphasis on technology, form the basis of a nation’s competitiveness on the global platform (Task Force on Basic Education Funding, 2009, p.14). Other studies point out the need for research on the improvement of the curriculum and study to show how the Americans can improve on the international standardized tests. They also argue that another positive way of improving performance in the United States is through the formation of special programs for the varying needs of the students. For instance, highly intelligent students could be exposed to a particular mode of learning that isi different from slow learners (Tyre, 2007, p. 2). However, can all these be achieved without funding? The answer is no. for motivation of teachers, formation of special programs, funding the international tests et cetera to succeed, the government must fund these programs strongly. It must buy the necessary equipment for the promotion of technology. This is the only way through which educational performance within a country can be improved.

However, the studies assumed different methodologies to come up with their results. To begin with, Bogle (2003) based his research on secondary sources. He uses other studies pointed out in the literature review to come up with the conclusion that education funding is not related to performance. On the other hand, other researchers have used primary information from first hand sources. The Task Force on Basic Education Funding uses students and teachers from the three different levels of study. They base their findings and conclusion on elementary school, middle school and high school students and teachers to come up with the conclusion that funding is a prerequisite for improved performance on the international standardized tests. Other studies including the National Academies Press (2003 and Hama (2007) all use primary information through interviews and observation to conclude that funding will positively implicate on the performance of students.

Considering the mentioned studies, what do the studies show in relation to the research questions? What roles do the funds from the government and other funding bodies play in the improvement of funding? As mentioned above, performance is basically multidimensional phenomenon. Excellence in this field depends greatly on a good balance of these various factors. The Joint Task Force on Basic Education Funding (2009, p. 7) argues that staffing levels of a school is directly correlated with its performance. Understaffing directly leads to underperformance while the opposite is true. In addition, they argue that any good performance depends on the availability of resources. Therefore, good performance depends on good channels of supply, maintenance of the resources and the availability of operational costs. This is the only way that performance will be enhanced. Other ways advocated for by the Taskforce include extra time teaching, special education programs, emphasis on early learning, and provision of motivation to teachers. All these will not be possible without funding.

Several other factors also play a role in good performance. Hama (2007, p 41) argues that spending per student and total education spending leads to an improvement in performance. Other factors mentioned by Hama include improvement of teachers’ salaries and participation in the program for international student assessment. These sentiments are echoed by Edwards (2006) who argues that the international standardization tests are important in the measurement of performance of a given nation in relation to the global market. On his part, Smith (2005) also points out the importance of funding on the performance of a student. She also argues that funding can be a strong tool through which underachievement in schools can be reduced. This can be achieved through funding of special programs, provision of resources, provision of adequate staffing and other money demanding factors play a role in the improvement of performance. Gropman (2008, par. 7) further contributed on the relevance of funding on the performance of students in international standardized tests. He posits that funding is necessary for the promotion and implementation of legislative moves to promote education. These moves include funding for the promotion of assessment reports like the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), No Child Left Behind Act and promotion of teachers’ welfare through tax reliefs, pay according to performance, et cetera. All these initiatives contribute positively to the performance of the students. But as evidenced, they all require adequate funding so that they can be implemented smoothly. All these arguments support the facts that funding is a prerequisite for exemplary education performance. Therefore, based on my review of the previous literature, it is true that education performance within the country or on the international standardized test scores depends greatly on the degree of funding by the government and other financial agencies within the country.

However, one thing remains a challenge in the effort to establish the authenticity of my hypothesis. As mentioned earlier, education performance is based on dynamic issues. One of these issues is funding. However, there are other further factors that contribute to performance. Therefore, there is need for research to show the relationship between funding and the other factors. None of these researches have mentioned this issue. While all the other studies advocated for funding as the way forward for performance in American educational institutions, Bogle (2003) argued otherwise. His arguments point out that there are some social factors that could implicate negatively on the education system despite the funding efforts. This identifies one challenge that must be addressed for success in this endeavor. How can these socio-economical imbalances mentioned by Bogle (2003) be incorporated within the education policy makers’ strategies so as to come up with a favorable way through which education performance can be improved?

Conclusion

This paper has tried to show the fact that funding is a prerequisite to good performance for any given country. The purpose of the paper was to understand role that funding plays on the education system of a country. Basing on the available literature review, it has been identified that funding assists in the promotion of initiatives that are aimed at improving the education standards like the No Child Left Behind initiative. Furthermore, funding assists in the promotion of studies and research which for better education. Funding also promotes the availability of resources like books, technology, laboratory materials et cetera. These are very important factors that contribute to the student’s performance in international standardized test scores. Other studies within the literature review also pointed out that the teacher’s plays an important role in the promotion of education standards. The number of teachers per school must be appropriate in order to achieve the desired performance. In addition, the distribution of teachers per subject should be made to reflect the most important subjects like foreign languages, mathematics, sciences and technology. Furthermore, the motivational aspects of the teacher must be put into consideration. Tax reliefs, good pay, good payment criteria, and continuous career development for teachers should be implemented. All these depend on the amount of funding for the education system.

However, much needs to be done to ensure good performance. For example, future researchers need to identify the relationship between funding and the other factors that promote good performance as mentioned by Bogle (2003). When this is well identified, it will be easier to merge the two so that a good implementation can be made. This will eventually result into great improvements in performance of American students on the international standardized test scores.

Annotated Bibliography

Bogle, C. (2003 ). Cuts in education funding will improve academic performance. Honest. Web.

The article provides the historical overview of course of the debate between the proponents of public and private system of education. The overview provides the main stages of this debate, specifically in the context of a decline of science scores of US 17-year-old students. The main argument of the author, according to the provided historical facts, is that a change in the market model in education is necessary.

Edwards, N. T. (2006). The historical and social foundations of standardized testing: In search of a balance between learning and evaluation. Shiken: JALT Testing & Evaluation SIG Newsletter, 10(1), 8-16. Web.

This article, although written in the context of Japan’s education system, provides an overview of the history of standardized testing in the world. The article outlines the theoretical foundation of standardized testing, providing definitions and different views on the standardized testing. The author attempted to take a neutral position, providing a review of the negative and the positive aspects of testing, citing the results of different studies supporting and opposing these aspects.

Final Report of the Joint Task Force on Basic Education Finance (2009). Washington State Institute for Public Policy. Web.

The report is based on the request of Washington Learns researching the connection between the learning objectives and funding in Washington. An important part of the report is devoted to describe the projection “designed to transform evidence‐based inputs to the education system into estimates of statewide student gains in standardized test scores and high school graduation rates” {, 2009 #241}.

FRBSF ECONOMIC LETTER (2008). Can Young Americans Compete in a Global Economy? Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Web.

This report is addressed to indicate the educational competitiveness of the American graduates on an international level. The report cites the results of external studies, and uses its own arguments, based on an included statistics of the results of comparative performance tests of American and other high-income countries, to state that the skills of the American students in the international labor market is underrated.

Gropman, A. L. (2008). Waning Education Standards Threaten U.S. Competitiveness National Defense Industrial Association. Web.

The article analyzes the results of a study comparing the standards of performance measurements in the United States and around the globe. The article also points out to the fact that the United States funding associated with student costs per student is the highest in the world, and despite the constant increases in funding the performance is still lagging behind.

Hama, A. (2007). The Interaction between Educational Spending and Intelligence. Mankind Quarterly, 47(4), 41-59.

The study evaluates the interaction between funding and standardized tests, based on the results of data gathered from public schools during 2002-2003 in the US, as well as the data administered by organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in the world. The results of the study showed that the increase in spending does not affect the cognitive ability of the students.

Kodrzycki, Y. K. (2002). Education in the 21st century: Meeting the challenges of a changing world. New England Economic Review, 3-18.

The article summarizes the 47th annual conference of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, examining the main challenges of education in the Unites States, specifically addressing economic and social factors. Among the statements of the article is the individual versus systemic improvements in education system as well as the reforms in the schools funding formulas.

National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on a Framework and Long-term Research Agenda for International Comparative Education Studies., Chabbott, C., Elliott, E. J., National Research Council (U.S.). Board on International Comparative Studies in Education., National Research Council (U.S.). Center for Education. Board on Testing and Assessment., & National Center for Education Statistics. (2003). Understanding others, educating ourselves : getting more from international comparative studies in education. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

This work is devoted toward establishing a framework for research on the comparative studies of the education performance between the US and other countries. The book states that apart from the results indicating that the performance of the US students is worse than students in other countries, the researches do not cover other variations between the countries.

Smith, E. (2005). Analysing underachievement in schools. London ; New York: Continuum.

The book analyzes underachievement in schools, proposing alternative method of it s evaluation. The book provides the position of British students, in which context the situation is very similar in terms of underachievement findings. The information from the book can be used to draw the parallel between the situation in the US and Britain.

Tyre, P. (2007). The United States has quietly withdrawn from an international study comparing math and science students. Newsweek. Web.

This magazine article discusses the decision of the federal government to drop out of international study comparing the results of US high-school students and international students in 2007. The article examines several assumptions of the possible cause of the drop out citing official statements, as well as analyzing the financial side of the aspects. The article can be used for arguments of the acknowledgement of the government of problems with US students test performances.

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