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An investigation of the relationship of student performance to their opportunity-to-learn in PISA 2012 mathematics: The case of Indonesia


Consisting of three chapters, this dissertation investigates the possibilities for using data from a large-scale international test (specifically the PISA 2012 test in mathematics) for designing effective policies in education, specifically for developing countries, like Indonesia. The first chapter investigated the internal structure of the PISA 2012 math test and examined how the outcomes were related to the high-stakes 9th grade national examination in mathematics by using common persons linking. In addition, the associations of selected student- and school-level background variables were examined to better explain the variability of student mathematics performance across four content areas included in the test. Next, the second chapter proposed a new model for measuring the students’ opportunity-to-learn (OTL) based on provided indicators of the mathematics classroom learning experience. The best-fit model was then chosen due to its strength in explaining the variability of student performance. Finally, the last chapter investigated selected student and school background information to provide insights on how they were associated with aspects of the proposed OTL measures before and after a school clustering effect was added. The data analyses were performed using a multidimensional partial credit model with latent regression based on the Indonesian data. The findings revealed that both the mathematics test and the OTL measures were multidimensional. No correlation was found between the 9th graders’ performance in PISA and in the national examination in mathematics. Amongst the selected background variables, SES and grade levels showed stronger associations with the student performance and the OTL level across their sub-domains or aspects, respectively. Students with higher SES were found to attend public schools that offered better OTL. Incorporating the school clustering effect, it was shown that the students’ OTL varied relatively more between schools, rather than within schools. In conclusion, this dissertation provides useful information on how the Indonesian students performed in the assessment framework laid out by PISA mathematics and how they perceived their classroom learning experience as indicators of their OTL. This information can be used to leverage and target evidence-based policy decisions to improve the quality of the national education system.

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