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The measurement of educational inequality : achievement and opportunity

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  • Ferreira, Francisco H. G.
  • Gignoux, Jeremie

Abstract

This paper proposes two related measures of educational inequality: one for educational achievement and another for educational opportunity. The former is the simple variance (or standard deviation) of test scores. Its selection is informed by consideration of two measurement issues that have typically been overlooked in the literature: the implications of the standardization of test scores for inequality indices, and the possible sample selection biases arising from the Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) sampling frame. The measure of inequality of educational opportunity is given by the share of the variance in test scores that is explained by pre-determined circumstances. Both measures are computed for the 57 countries in which PISA surveys were conducted in 2006. Inequality of opportunity accounts for up to 35 percent of all disparities in educational achievement. It is greater in (most of) continental Europe and Latin America than in Asia, Scandinavia, and North America. It is uncorrelated with average educational achievement and only weakly negatively correlated with per capita gross domestic product. It correlates negatively with the share of spending in primary schooling, and positively with tracking in secondary schools.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5873.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5873

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Keywords: Teaching and Learning; Secondary Education; Education For All; Poverty Impact Evaluation; Tertiary Education;

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References

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  1. Francois Bourguignon & Francisco H.B. Ferreira & Marta Menéndez, 2005. "Inequality of Opportunity in Brazil," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 133, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Ariga, Kenn & Brunello, Giorgio & Iwahashi, Roki & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2006. "On the Efficiency Costs of De-tracking Secondary Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 2534, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Shorrocks, A F, 1978. "The Measurement of Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1013-24, September.
  4. Fields, Gary S. & Ok, Efe A., 1996. "The Meaning and Measurement of Income Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 349-377, November.
  5. Francisco Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux & Meltem Aran, 2011. "Measuring inequality of opportunity with imperfect data: the case of Turkey," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 651-680, December.
  6. Manning, Alan & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2006. "Comprehensive versus Selective Schooling in England in Wales: What Do We Know?," IZA Discussion Papers 2072, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Gamboa, Luis Fernando & Waltenberg, Fábio D., 2012. "Inequality of opportunity for educational achievement in Latin America: Evidence from PISA 2006–2009," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 694-708.
  8. Checchi, Daniele & Peragine, Vito, 2005. "Regional Disparities and Inequality of Opportunity: The Case of Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 1874, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Brunello, Giorgio & Checchi, Daniele, 2006. "Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity? New International Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2348, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Daniele Checchi & Vito Peragine, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity in Italy," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 429-450, December.
  11. Gabriela Schütz & Heinrich W. Ursprung & Ludger Wö�mann, 2008. "Education Policy and Equality of Opportunity," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 279-308, 05.
  12. repec:pse:psecon:2007-12 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Giorgina Brown & John Micklewright & Sylke V. Schnepf & Robert Waldmann, 2007. "International surveys of educational achievement: how robust are the findings?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(3), pages 623-646.
  14. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00588085 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Birdsall, Nancy, 1996. "Public spending on higher education in developing countries: Too much or too little?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 407-419, October.
  16. Macdonald, Kevin & Barrera, Felipe & Guaqueta, Juliana & Patrinos, Harry Anthony & Porta, Emilio, 2010. "The determinants of wealth and gender inequity in cognitive skills in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5189, The World Bank.
  17. Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2007. "Education inequalities and the Kuznets curves: a global perspective since 1870," PSE Working Papers halshs-00588085, HAL.
  18. Bedard, Kelly & Ferrall, Christopher, 2003. "Wage and test score dispersion: some international evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 31-43, February.
  19. repec:qed:wpaper:947 is not listed on IDEAS
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The measurement of educational inequality: Achievement and opportunity
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2011-12-16 13:50:17
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. John Jerrim & Alvaro Choi, 2013. "The mathematics skills of school children: How does England compare to the high performing East Asian jurisdictions?," DoQSS Working Papers 13-03, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  2. Márcia de Carvalho & Luis Fernando Gamboa & Fábio D. Waltenberg, 2012. "Equality of educational opportunity employing PISA data: taking both achievement and access into account," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 010239, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  3. Isabelle Joumard & Juliana Londoño Vélez, 2013. "Income Inequality and Poverty in Colombia - Part 1. The Role of the Labour Market," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1036, OECD Publishing.
  4. John Jerrim & Álvaro Choi, 2013. "The mathematics skills of school children: how does England compare to the high performing east Asian jurisdictions?," Working Papers 2013/12, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  5. World Bank, 2012. "Monitoring Basic Opportunities throughout the Lifecycle with the Human Opportunity Index in Chile," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11919, The World Bank.
  6. Gamboa, Luis Fernando & Waltenberg, Fábio D., 2012. "Inequality of opportunity for educational achievement in Latin America: Evidence from PISA 2006–2009," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 694-708.

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