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Learning divides across the Italian regions: Some evidence from national and international surveys

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  • Pasqualino Montanaro

    ()
    (Banca d'Italia)

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    Abstract

    Student performance has been tested by various surveys at the international level in recent years, using different aims and methodologies. On the basis of a comparative analysis, this paper aims to describe the differences in performance between Italian regions, subjects and ages or grades. All the surveys revealed significant gaps in performance across the Italian regions, with students in the South being far behind those in the North in all the subjects surveyed (reading, mathematics, science). This gap is particularly marked in technical (“istituti tecnici”) and vocational (“istituti professionali”) schools. Also the degree of disparity in scores is higher in the South. The geographical divides increase with grade: the gaps between North and South are more mitigated at the earlier grades and concentrated among students with a low parental background. Student achievement is strongly correlated with the socio-cultural and economic conditions of the family. However, this relationship seems to be sharper at the earlier grades, while it vanishes at the upper secondary school level, when the type-of-program and school effects have much greater impact. Finally, this paper also suggests that marks (or final grades) given internally by schools do not reflect the real levels of proficiency, and do not, therefore, distinguish good students from bad ones.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) with number 14.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:bdi:opques:qef_14_08

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    Web page: http://www.bancaditalia.it
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    Related research

    Keywords: quality of education; international assessments; regional disparities;

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    Cited by:
    1. Fali HUANG & Pao-Li CHANG, 2012. "Trade and Divergence in Education Systems," DEGIT Conference Papers c017_016, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    2. Gianfranco DE SIMONE, 2012. "Render unto primary the things which are primary's. Inherited and fresh learning divides in Italian lower secondary education," Departmental Working Papers 2012-14, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.

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