Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Public and Private School Distinction, Regional Development Differences, and Other Factors Influencing the Success of Primary School Students in Turkey

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Public and Private School Distinction, Regional Development Differences, and Other Factors Influencing the Success of Primary School Students in Turkey

Article excerpt

Education accelerates a country's economic development by ensuring personal growth and social progress. Assuring the spread of community-specific values among generations, education is one of most basic elements of human capital. A country's investments in education produce valuable future savings. Educational policies adopted in any country, and resources directed towards education, in either public or private sectors, are very important for education.

Quality in education is only possible through educational plans and training programs, implemented in an efficient and equal manner. A quality training program meets the requirements of its time, closely follows the development of information and communication technologies, and pursues equality of opportunity and facility. The success of a country's educational policies can be measured by its students' success. Many studies, at the national level, conducted especially in recent years, assess the training efficiency of schools, in relation to students' academic success. In addition, programs continuously determine countries' comparative academic success versus other countries. Studies such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) compare the success of students in international platforms. By providing preliminary information for researchers, for those who prepare school curricula, and for educational politicians regarding the operation of educational systems, these studies, repeated at certain intervals, become guides for criticism, assessment of educational systems, and required regulations.

International examinations cause large reactions in many countries. Many countries try to improve their performances on these exams, as a strong relation exists between student success and economic development (Barro, 2013). Following the inputs or outputs of an educational system closely, determining shortcomings and stop points, and implementing proper policies is extremely important for national economies. Using data from TIMSS 2011, an international success evaluation program, this study investigates the factors affecting the mathematical success of eighth-grade students in Turkey. The findings of this study, in which the impact of a large number of variables concerning the socioeconomic status of students, regional differences, and school types upon success are comprehensively examined, will uncover required preliminary information for those preparing training programs. The study will further provide the required feedback for policy makers who shape the educational system, while answering the question: "what kind of an educational system should it be?'' which recently has received wide coverage in public.

Programs that rate student success at an international level, in which Turkey participated, included TIMSS (1999, 2007, and 2011), PIRLS (2001), and PISA (2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012). Remarkably, Turkey ranks among the group of countries with the lowest performance in student success rating. Regarding TIMSS, PIRLS, and PISA, policy makers changed the curriculum in 2005. Although improved in recent years, Turkey's performance in these international examinations is far below that of European Union member states and some Asian countries (Alacaci & Erbas, 2010; Anil, 2009; Bayraktar, 2010; Berberoglu & Kalender, 2005; Çelen, Çelik, & Seferoglu, 2011; Gümüs & Atalmis, 2012; Güner, Sezer, & Akkus Ispir, 2013; Gür, Çelik, & Özoglu, 2012; Özer & Anil, 2011; Özgün-Koca & Sen, 2002; Yücel, Karadag, & Turan, 2013; Zopluoglu, 2013). Thus, it is essential to understand the factors affecting students' performance to create an efficient and productive educational system in Turkey and to increase students' success. This study uses the most up-to-date TIMSS data to identify such factors (TIMSS, 2011). …

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