Institute of Education

Research & Expertise to Make a Difference in Education & Beyond

IOE Academics Recognized for High-impact Research

A cross-country benchmarking of student achievement gains in vocational versus general secondary tracks, which was published by IOE experts Julia Kuzmina and Martin Carnoy in 2016, has received a 2017 Highly Commended Award from Emerald’s International Journal of Manpower

Signed by Emerald’s Publishing Director Tony Roche and Contributor Relations Head Simon Bell, a Certificate of Award was received by the paper authors Julia Kuzmina and Martin Carnoy in late September 2017.

The award recognizes the high academic impact Julia and Martin’s research has had as a largely unique endeavor in terms of both the evaluation methodology used and the findings reported, which challenge much of what other similar studies suggest. Notably, the paper has seen almost 500 full-text downloads to date.

Based on evidence from the PISA 2012 international student survey, the study aims to gauge the relative academic effectiveness of vocational education in three countries with early tracking systems: Austria, Croatia and Hungary. The authors rely on a fuzzy regression discontinuity approach utilizing school systems’ age entrance date rules to estimate the increment in test scores over an academic year and to benchmark student achievement gains in the vocational and academic tracks.

The results that Julia and Martin have obtained contradict what almost all other studies have shown. Thus, the research has found only slight and insignificant differences in student gains when attending a vocational track as opposed to a general secondary track. In particular, the study suggests that attending either of these yields similar achievement gains in the tenth grade and generally similar gains in self-efficacy and motivation in mathematics.

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