Advertisement

The Impact of Education Policies on Socioeconomic Inequality in Student Achievement: A Review of Comparative Studies

  • Rolf StrietholtEmail author
  • Jan-Eric Gustafsson
  • Nina Hogrebe
  • Victoria Rolfe
  • Monica Rosén
  • Isa Steinmann
  • Kajsa Yang Hansen
Chapter
  • 518 Downloads
Part of the Education Policy & Social Inequality book series (EPSI, volume 4)

Abstract

This chapter reviews international comparative studies on the determinants of socioeconomic inequality in student performance. We were interested in studies of explanatory variables that are amenable to educational policy interventions. To identify such publications, we developed a comprehensive search strategy and conducted an electronic search based on six databases. We also manually searched two existing hand-picked reviews. After duplicates were removed, the search resulted in 814 references, of which a total of 35 studies met the eligibility criteria. The included studies investigated diverse topics such as learning environments inside and outside of school, educational expenditure, teacher education, autonomy, accountability, differentiation, and competition from private schools. Most studies are descriptive in nature and their findings are sometimes ambiguous. Despite these limitations, we tentatively conclude that the opportunity of choice reinforces inequality. Measures that target social selection can be effective.

Keywords

Student achievement Socioeconomic status Inequality Comparative analysis 

Notes

Funding Note

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 765400 and was supported by Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) [grant number 2015-01080].

References

  1. (* indicate that findings from the references were used in the present review)Google Scholar
  2. * Akiba, M., LeTendre, G. K., & Scribner, J. P. (2007). Teacher quality, opportunity gap, and national achievement in 46 countries. Educational Researcher, 36(7), 369–387.  https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189x07308739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. * Ammermueller, A., & Pischke, J. S. (2009). Peer effects in European primary schools: Evidence from the progress in international reading literacy study. Journal of Labor Economics, 27(3), 315–348.  https://doi.org/10.1086/603650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. * Araújo, L., & Costa, P. (2015). Home book reading and reading achievement in EU countries: The progress in international reading literacy study 2011 (PIRLS). Educational Research and Evaluation, 21(5–6), 438.Google Scholar
  5. * Bodovski, K., Byun, S. Y., Chykina, V., & Chung, H. J. (2017). Searching for the golden model of education: Cross-national analysis of math achievement. Compare, 47(5), 722–741.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03057925.2016.1274881.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. * Bol, T., Witschge, J., Van de Werfhorst, H. G., & Dronkers, J. (2014). Curricular tracking and central examinations: Counterbalancing the Impact of social background on student achievement in 36 countries. Social Forces, 92(4), 1545–1572.  https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/sou003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. * Brunello, G., & Checchi, D. (2007). Does school tracking affect equality of opportunity? New international evidence. Economic Policy, 22(52), 781–861. doi: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4502215.
  8. * Burger, K. (2016). Intergenerational transmission of education in Europe: Do more comprehensive education systems reduce social gradients in student achievement? Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 44, 54–67.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rssm.2016.02.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. * Caro, D. H., & Lenkeit, J. (2012). An analytical approach to study educational inequalities: 10 hypothesis tests in PIRLS 2006. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 35(1), 30.Google Scholar
  10. * Cebolla-Boado, H., Radl, J., & Salazar, L. (2016). Preschool education as the great equalizer? A cross-country study into the sources of inequality in reading competence. Acta Sociologica, 60(1), 41–60.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0001699316654529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. * Chiu, M. M. (2015). Family inequality, school inequalities, and mathematics achievement in 65 countries: Microeconomic mechanisms of rent seeking and diminishing marginal returns. Teachers College Record, 117(1), 1–32.Google Scholar
  12. * Chudgar, A., Luschei, T. F., & Zhou, Y. (2013). Science and mathematics achievement and the importance of classroom composition: Multicountry analysis using TIMSS 2007. American Journal of Education, 119(2), 295–316.  https://doi.org/10.1086/668764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Duncan, O. D., Featherman, D. L., & Duncan, B. (1972). Socio-economic background and achievement. New York: Seminar Press.Google Scholar
  14. * Dupriez, V., & Dumay, X. (2006). Inequalities in school systems: Effect of school structure or of society structure? Comparative Education, 42(2), 243–260.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03050060600628074.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. * Falck, O., Mang, C., & Woessmann, L. (2018). Virtually no effect? Different uses of classroom computers and their effect on student achievement. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 80(1), 1–38.  https://doi.org/10.1111/obes.12192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. * Gándara, F., & Randall, J. (2015). Investigating the relationship between school-level accountability practices and science achievement. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 23.  https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v23.2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gottfried, A. (1985). Measures of socioeconomic status in child development research: Data and recommendations. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 31(1), 85–92.Google Scholar
  18. * Han, S. W. (2018). School-based teacher hiring and achievement inequality: A comparative perspective. International Journal of Educational Development, 61, 82–91.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2017.12.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hanushek, E. A., & Woessmann, L. (2011). The economics of international differences in educational achievement. In E. A. Hanushek, S. Machin, & L. Woessmann (Eds.), Handbook of the economics of education (Vol. 3). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  20. Hauser, R. M. (1994). Measuring socioeconomic status in studies of child development. Child Development, 65(6), 1541–1545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Heyneman, S. P., & Loxley, W. A. (1983). The effect of primary-school quality on academic achievement across twenty-nine high-and low-income countries. Journal of Sociology, 88(6), 1162–1194.Google Scholar
  22. Hogrebe, N., & Strietholt, R. (2016). Does non-participation in preschool affect children’s reading achievement? International evidence from propensity score analyses. Large-scale Assessments in Education, 4(1).  https://doi.org/10.1186/s40536-016-0017-3.
  23. * Horn, D. (2009). Age of selection counts: A cross-country analysis of educational institutions. Educational Research and Evaluation, 15(4), 343–366.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13803610903087011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. * Huang, H. G., & Sebastian, J. (2015). The role of schools in bridging within-school achievement gaps based on socioeconomic status: A cross-national comparative study. Compare—A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 45(4), 501–525.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03057925.2014.905103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. * Jehangir, K., Glas, C. A. W., & van den Berg, S. (2015). Exploring the relation between socio-economic status and reading achievement in PISA 2009 through an intercepts-and-slopes-as-outcomes paradigm. International Journal of Educational Research, 71, 1–15.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2015.02.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jerrim, J., Lopez-Agudo, L. A., Marcenaro-Gutierrez, O. D., & Shure, N. (2017). What happens when econometrics and psychometrics collide? An example using the PISA data. Economics of Education Review, 61, 51–58.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2017.09.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. * Lavrijsen, J., & Nicaise, I. (2015). New empirical evidence on the effect of educational tracking on social inequalities in reading achievement. European Educational Research Journal, 14(3–4), 206-221.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1474904115589039.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. * Lavy, V. (2015). Do differences in schools’ instruction time explain international achievement gaps? Evidence from developed and developing countries. The Economic Journal, 125(588), F397–F424.  https://doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. * Le Donné, N. (2014). European variations in socioeconomic inequalities in students’ cognitive achievement: The role of educational policies. European Sociological Review, 30(3), 329–343.  https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcu040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lockheed, M. E., & Wagemaker, H. (2013). International large-scale assessments: Thermometers, whips or useful policy tools? Research in Comparative and International Education, 8(3), 296–306.  https://doi.org/10.2304/rcie.2013.8.3.296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. * Luschei, T. F., & Chudgar, A. (2011). Teachers, student achievement and national income: A cross-national examination of relationships and interactions. Prospects, 41(4), 507–533.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-011-9213-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Meyer, H. D., Strietholt, R., & Epstein, D. Y. (2018). Three models of global education quality and the emerging democratic deficit in global education governance. In M. Akiba & G. K. LeTendre (Eds.), Routledge international handbook of teacher quality and policy. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Mueller, C. W., & Parcel, T. L. (1981). Measures of socioeconomic status: Alternatives and recommendations. Child Development, 52(1), 12–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Open Science Collaboration. (2015). Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349(6251), aac4716.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aac4716.
  35. * Park, H. (2008). The varied educational effects of parent‐child communication: A comparative study of fourteen countries. Comparative Education Review, 52(2), 219–243.  https://doi.org/10.1086/528763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. * Põder, K., Lauri, T., & Veski, A. (2016). Does school admission by Zoning affect educational inequality? A study of family background effect in Estonia, Finland, and Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 61(6), 668–688.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00313831.2016.1173094.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. * Salehi-Isfahani, D., Hassine, N., & Assaad, R. (2013). Equality of opportunity in educational achievement in the Middle East and North Africa. The Journal of Economic Inequality, 12(4), 489–515.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10888-013-9263-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. * Sandoval-Hernández, A., & Białowolski, P. (2016). Factors and conditions promoting academic resilience: A TIMSS-based analysis of five Asian education systems. Asia Pacific Education Review, 17(3), 511–520.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12564-016-9447-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. * Santibañez, L., & Fagioli, L. (2016). Nothing succeeds like success? Equity, student outcomes, and opportunity to learn in high- and middle-income countries. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 40(6), 517–525.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025416642050.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Scheerens, J. (2017). Opportunity to learn, curriculum alignment and test preparation. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  41. * Schlicht, R., Stadelmann-Steffen, I., & Freitag, M. (2010). Educational inequality in the EU the effectiveness of the national education policy. European Union Politics, 11(1), 29–60.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1465116509346387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. * Schmidt, W. H., Burroughs, N. A., Zoido, P., & Houang, R. T. (2015). The role of schooling in perpetuating educational inequality: An international perspective. Educational Researcher, 44(7), 371–386.  https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189x15603982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. * Schütz, G., Ursprung, H. W., & Woessmann, L. (2008). Education policy and equality of opportunity. KyKlos, 61(2), 279–308.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6435.2008.00402.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sirin, S. R. (2005). Socioeconomic status and academic achievement: A meta-analytic review of research. Review of Educational Research, 75(3), 417–453.  https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543075003417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Strietholt, R., Gustafsson, J. E., Rosén, M., & Bos, W. (2014). Outcomes and causal inference in international comparative assessments. In E. Policy (Ed.), Educational policy evaluation through international comparative assessments. Münster/New York: Waxmann.Google Scholar
  46. Strietholt, R., & Scherer, R. (2017). The contribution of international large-scale assessments to educational research: Combining individual and institutional data sources. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 1–18.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00313831.2016.1258729.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. * Toma, E. (1996). Public funding and private schooling across countries. Journal of Law and Economics, 9(1), 121–148.Google Scholar
  48. Van de Werfhorst, H. G., & Mijs, J. J. B. (2010). Achievement Inequality and the Institutional Structure of Educational Systems: A Comparative Perspective. Annual Review of Sociology, 36(1), 407–428.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.012809.102538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. White, K. R. (1982). The relation between socioeconomic status and academic achievement. Psychological Bulletin, 91(3), 461–481.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.91.3.461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. * Witschge, J., & van de Werfhorst, H. G. (2015). Standardization of lower secondary civic education and inequality of the civic and political engagement of students. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 27(3), 367–384.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09243453.2015.1068817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. * Woessmann, L. (2005). The effect heterogeneity of central examinations: Evidence from TIMSS, TIMSS—Repeat and PISA. Education Economics, 13(2), 143–169.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09645290500031165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. * Woessmann, L. (2011). Cross-country evidence on teacher performance pay. Economics of Education Review, 30(3), 404–418.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2010.12.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Yang Hansen, K., & Strietholt, R. (2018). Does schooling actually perpetuate educational inequality in mathematics performance? A validity question on the measures of opportunity to learn in PISA. Zdm, 50(4), 643–658. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-018-0935-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. * Zimmer, R., & Toma, E. (2000). Peer effects in private and public schools across countries. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 19(1), 75–92.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rolf Strietholt
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jan-Eric Gustafsson
    • 1
  • Nina Hogrebe
    • 3
  • Victoria Rolfe
    • 1
  • Monica Rosén
    • 1
  • Isa Steinmann
    • 2
  • Kajsa Yang Hansen
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.TU Dortmund UniversityDortmundGermany
  3. 3.University of MünsterMünsterGermany
  4. 4.University WestTrollhättanSweden

Personalised recommendations