This study uses data envelopment analysis to analyse the efficiency of educational systems in 31 countries. This type of evaluation is of interest both when formulating a model for analysis and when applying such a model empirically. The efficiency of an educational system must take into account the students' economic and social background, as this is an environmental factor that decisively influences their performance. This is a highly important aspect and so we propose a specific evaluative process for it. Secondly, we evaluate the efficiency of educational systems in different countries, an analysis that has few forerunners since the majority of previous research has focused on analysing a single country. The results suggest that, in general, the most efficient management of educational systems can be found in those countries with a Communist past. They also suggest that there is a series of developed countries, which, judging by the results obtained, could increase their students' performance with even fewer resources than those currently allocated to their educational systems. © 2007 Operational Research Society Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Data envelopment analysis