Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Predictors of the Elementary School Proficiency Exams and Issues of Equality in Educational Facilities

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Predictors of the Elementary School Proficiency Exams and Issues of Equality in Educational Facilities

Article excerpt

Abstract

The main purpose of this study is to determine whether school/student, classroom/student, teacher/student ratio, and the Human Development Index (I.G.E.) rates by province predict a province's total 6th and 7th grade Elementary School Proficiency Exam (SBS) scores. To determine the relationships between the province's total 6th and 7th grade SBS scores and the predictor variables (school/student ratio by province; classroom/student ratio by province; teacher/student ratio by province; I.G.E. rates by province), multiple regression analysis was performed. The results show that in the order of importance; I.G.E. rates by province, teacher/student ratio by province, school/student ratio by province, and classroom/student ratio by province are able to predict province's total 6th and 7th grade SBS scores.

Key Words

School/Student Ratio, Classroom/Student Ratio, Teacher/Student Ratio, Human Development Index, The Elementary School Proficiency Exam, Centralized Exams.

Transition to secondary education exam is reorganized in 2007 in Turkey. In the new system, students' academic performance began to be determined by the 6, 7, 8 grade Elementary School Proficiency Exams (SBS) which is held at the end of 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. First, the SBS was made in 2008 for 6th and 7th grade students. All over Turkey, 957.339 of the total 1.433.720 students from grade 6, 961.712 of the total 1.358.561 students from grade 7 participated in the SBS (Milli Egitim Bakanligi [MEB], 2008).

Central exams as the SBS covers the entire country and the vast majority of students take part in this examination. Due to broad participation, the results of this examination can provide important data for us to determine the quality and efficiency of elementary education in the country. According to a recent report (Erdogan, Çifçili, & Meseci- Giorgetti, 2010) about first SBS results showed that in Turkey 6 and 7 grade SBS scores differ according to provinces and regions. According to the findings of this report while Marmara and Aegean region have the highest percentage of correct answers, South East Anatolia region has the lowest percentage of correct answers.

Although generality and equality considered as the main defined educational principles of Turkey's educational system (Resmi Gazete, 1973), there are remarkable SBS score differences according to provinces and regions. This means that education is not efficient in some provinces and regions. It is essential to put forth these differences for consideration and find out the predictors of the SBS scores.

By all means there are many components for elementary school achievement. However, in this study school/student classroom/student teacher/ student ratio by province and Human Development Index (I.G.E.) rates by province are investigated to find out their relationship with the SBS scores by province. School/student classroom/student teacher/student ratio was selected since they are concrete and easily amendable variables for policymakers in Turkey to manipulate.

Studies have focused on the relationship between school/student, classroom/student, and teacher/ student ratio and academic achievement. These studies have different results. Especially the concept of school size is somewhat nebulous. Some studies (e.g. Caldas, 1993; Lamdin,1995) showed no relationship while others refer to the positive effect of a small school size or negative effect of a large school size (e.g. Cotton 1996; Jones, Toma, & Zimmer, 2008; Kiesling, 1967; Kuziemko, 2006; Plecki, 1991; Raywid; 1999), yet another group refer to the positive effect of a large school size (e.g. Barnett, Glass, Snowden, & Stringer, 2002; Bradley & Taylor, 1998; Sander, 1993;). According to Lee and Loeb (2000) very small schools are most often not 'small by design' but rather 'small by default.' They indicate that much of the enthusiasm for small schools focuses on those small schools that want to be small, often have selective entrance criteria, are staffed by innovative faculty and are attended by committed students. …

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