A study of the LOMCE law on education suggests it will have little impact on education improvement

Camilo José Cela University has published a new study, under its Chair on Education Policy, entitled Un análisis de la LOMCE a la luz del principio de Pareto (A study of the LOMCE in light of the Pareto Principle) . The study analyses the LOMCE (Law on Improving Education) using this principle, the 80/20 rule or principle of factory sparsity. Said rule states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. The study compares the Law with available evidence on the factors that impact students’ performance most meaningfully.

The study, led by Francisco López Rupérez, Chair Director and former President of the State Board for Schools, takes into consideration, on the one hand, the empirical work of John Hattie in 2003 on the factors most influencing school performance, such as students’ capacities, the quality of teaching staff, influence of management, school characteristics, the role play by families and peer interaction, and on the other hand Pisa results from 2015.

The study shows that the LOMCE law has left out the majority of the factors that, according to this evidence, have the greatest impact on students’ results, particularly, the quality of teaching staff.

The study concludes that ‘LOMCE is not aligned with the priorities pointed to by the available empirical evidence, but rests on, in most cases, other priorities that have a much lesser impact on students’ results’. In light of the Pareto Principle, the study predicts its will have scarce impact on the improvement of education quality as measured by students’ results, and puts forward recommendations in line with the analysis mentioned above with the aim of contributing to a new law on education.

Six recommendation for a future law on education

  • Not place opportunistic criteria, inherent to political action, above those that will have a more meaningful impact on the system’s quality.
    Immediately tackle policies based on the teaching staff. Specifically those that involve the access to teaching and teacher training and career advancement.
  • Renew policies to make the system more equitable to ensure efficient and effective results.
  • Support the autonomy of education centres and provide guidance in order to ease the transition from a bureaucratic system to one with greater freedom to adapt to specific contexts, innovation and improvement, including accountability for results.
  • Promote low cost and high yield quality measures in early childhood education, particularly in disadvantaged areas.
  • Set up an integrated and balanced assessment model in schools, regional communities and Spain overall. Avoid unnecessary and costly overlaps.