Better behaved students learn more and perform among the world’s best, researchers from Macquarie University in Sydney have found.
The researchers analysed results from the international measurement of student achievements, the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment, concluding that classroom discipline could hold the key to improving academic performance.
“This study suggests that education investment alone is not sufficient to boost educational performance as well as global competitiveness,’’ the research found.
Researchers Chris Baumann and his Macquarie colleague Hana Krskova analysed PISA data to ascertain the impact of school discipline — students listening well in class, the noise level, teacher waiting time, class start times, and students working well — against the impact of increased education spending.
“When we contrasted school discipline and education investment on the effect of performance, it was roughly 88 per cent in comparison to 12 per cent for education investment,’’ Dr Baumann said.
“That’s not to say investment is not important; of course not. But it indicates the importance of school discipline. The way we actually run the school seems to have a massive effect on how the students perform.
“If you look at the East Asian model of education where the teacher enters the classroom, the students stand up and greet the teacher. What’s the cost? Zero. But you get everyone’s attention.’’
The results of the latest round of PISA data for 2015 found the performance of Australia’s 15-year-olds in maths, science and reading was in “absolute decline’’ and the nation was being outpaced by New Zealand, Estonia and Slovenia.
The Australian reported government spending on school education increased by $10 billion in real terms in the decade to 2013-14, with an extra $2bn in 2014-15.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham is in the process of negotiating a new funding deal with the states and education sectors, with a view that the debate has focused too heavily on the amount of funding being delivered as opposed to maximising funds provided.