Mobility in Pupils' Cognitive Attainment During School Life
This paper considers the extent of mobility in pupils' attainment relative to peers as they move through school. Considerable shifts in position are demonstrated using data from the 1958 and 1970 UK birth cohorts and from the National Pupil Database for 2002. These shifts in attainment in primary and secondary school are shown to relate strongly to social class, demonstrating that the large social-class attainment gap in the UK is not a one-off effect prior to school entry but a compounding effect throughout school life. These changes in relative attainment during school are also shown to relate strongly to adult economic outcomes. These results suggest that although there are good arguments in support of an increase in preschool expenditures, equality of opportunity also requires enhanced investments for the worst-off throughout school. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.
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