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The Evolution of Cognitive Skills Inequalities by Socioeconomic Status across Canada

Author

Listed:
  • Catherine Haeck

    (Department of Economics, University of Quebec in Montreal)

  • Pierre Lefebvre

    (Department of Economics, University of Quebec in Montreal)

Abstract

In this article, we document the evolution of the cognitive skills gap across Canada. We use PISA tests scores over 7 cycles, from 2000 to 2018, to provide an exhaustive portrait of the evolution of the tests scores distribution over time and by parental socioeconomic status. We find that the achievement gap between top performing students (p90) and students facing challenges (p10) is large. It represents about 4 years of schooling. We also show that socioeconomic differences in PISA scores, in reading, maths and science, are large but unwavering. In other words inequality by SES is stable, and decreasing in some years. There are wide-ranging variations in the size of the SES score gaps by provinces, a proxy for the extent of inequality of opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Haeck & Pierre Lefebvre, 2020. "The Evolution of Cognitive Skills Inequalities by Socioeconomic Status across Canada," Working Papers 20-04, Research Group on Human Capital, University of Quebec in Montreal's School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:grc:wpaper:20-04
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    socioeconomic inequalities; PISA; literacy and numeracy skills; proficiency scales; provincial education policy; education attainment gradient; Canadian provinces;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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