The economic impact of improving schooling quality

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On 1 December 2017, the Australian Government released the report The economic impact of improving schooling quality, prepared by Deloitte Access Economics.

The report attempts to quantify the effect of lifting learning outcomes on economic growth; previous studies have tended to only look to completions, not quality of outcomes.

The study finds that the economic returns are significant; a five per cent increase in cognitive capability could considerably improve Australia’s position in the 2012 international comparisons and has the potential to contribute in the order of between $12 billion to $26 billion to Australia’s economic bottom line when the effect is fully realised over the working life of a cohort of young people.

Quality of learning outcomes is indicated by cognition levels as measured by their PISA scores, and two alternative methodologies are used to measure economic impact – a refinement of an OECD approach using aggregate information across countries, and one using real life data from the Australian Government’s Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) which tracks young people’s education and work pathways.