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The Measurement of Educational Inequality: Achievement and Opportunity

Author

Listed:
  • Francisco H. G. Ferreira

    (The World Bank - The World Bank, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA)

  • Jérémie Gignoux

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

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. It is selected after careful 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 PISA sampling frame. The measure of inequality of educational opportunity is given by the share of the variance in test scores which 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% 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 GDP. It correlates negatively with the share of spending in primary schooling, and positively with tracking in secondary schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2011. "The Measurement of Educational Inequality: Achievement and Opportunity," Working Papers halshs-00646594, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00646594
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00646594
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Measurement of Educational Inequality: Achievement and Opportunity
      by Maximo Rossi in Wikiprogress América Latina on 2012-06-04 19:04:00

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Lauri Peterson, 2014. "The Measurement of Non-economic Inequality in Well-Being Indices," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(2), pages 581-598, November.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.

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    Keywords

    Educational inequality; Educational achievement; Inequality of opportunity;

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