IEA Research Fellow Gabriel Sahlgren and Julian Le Grand discussed the impact of competition in schools in the Financial Times. They argue that the UK needs to be cautious in following the policies persued by schools in East Asia. Rather the UK, by injecting competition into the system, can force laggards to improve. In fact, there is evidence that competition actually decreases the impact of pupils’ backgrounds in international tests. Competition forces poorly performing schools to improve or lose students (and funding) to providers such as academies in the UK and charter schools in the US, which enjoy a large degree of independence from the bodies that fund them.
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