Explaining the Flemish Lead: A multi-method analysis of explanations for the difference between performance of Dutch and Flemish children in literacy and numeracy.
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The study analyses, from the assumption that micro level influences are more or less levelled-out, five different explanations for why Flemish children perform better in international standardised tests of literacy and numeracy (PISA, PIRLS and TIMSS) than Dutch children. Since the countries are very similar in general characteristics and education system characteristics, this difference in performance is puzzling. The study uses a wide array of quantitative methods and policy analysis to study the curriculum; special needs children inclusion policy; funding; teachers; and class size as explanations for this difference, disproving the usual explanation of curricular differences and showing that class size is most likely to explain the performance differences.