Column One

September 16, 1992 2 min read

Using an unusual method to answer one of the more vexing questions about education, two Princeton University economists have concluded that schooling pays off even more than most researchers had thought.

For a forthcoming study, Alan Krueger and Orley Ashenfelter interviewed 298 identical twins and found that each additional year of school adds as much as 16 percent to a person’s lifetime earnings.

Unlike many previous studies, which had been based on statistical databases and which generally found smaller effects of schooling on income, the twins study--conducted at the annual Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio--has the virtue of comparing adults who are identical on many characteristics, according to Mr. Krueger.

He added that the study could bolster support for programs to ease access to education.

“Policies to encourage people to stay in school tend to have a big payoff, larger than has been recognized,’' Mr. Krueger said.

A New Zealand researcher outlines the reaction of local school board members to that country’s approach to school reform in the Fall 1992 issue of the Harvard Education Review.

Unlike reforms in other nations, the New Zealand reforms of the late 1980’s explicitly required schools to seek to ensure “equitable educational outcomes’’ for girls and ethnic minorities, particularly the indigenous Maori population.

Interviewing local board members, Sue Middleton, a professor of education at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, found widely different views on the multicultural requirement.

And she notes that the National Party, which defeated the ruling Labor Party in 1990, has pledged to make the equity requirements optional.

But, Ms. Middleton concludes, “it is likely that at least some of the bicultural requirements will remain,’' even in predominantly white schools.

The U.S. Education Department’s office of educational research and improvement has published a new booklet outlining research about student motivation and its relation to achievement.

Drawing from a 1990 conference sponsored by the O.E.R.I., the booklet examines the lack of incentives for students to study, the ways in which school policies and peer pressure discourage effort, and other issues.

Copies of “Hard Work and High Expectations: Motivating Students To Learn’’ are available for $1.25 each from the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15250-7954. The stock number is 065-00496-8.

--Robert Rothman

A version of this article appeared in the September 16, 1992 edition of Education Week as Column One