Paul Glewwe

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Vietnam’s performance on the 2012 PISA assessment has attracted the interest both within Vietnam and across the world.  Internationally, many countries want to understand why Vietnam’s education system performs so well for a lower middle income country, and what Vietnam can show them to improve their own education systems. Within Vietnam, satisfaction with this high average performance is tempered by the knowledge of gaps within Vietnam by geography (urban/rural, eight regions), income level, and ethnicity. This paper will use the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition method to investigate possible explanations for both Vietnam’s high performance on the PISA data relative to the other 64 PISA countries and for variation in student performance within Vietnam.