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Inequality in education: can Italian disadvantaged students close the gap? A focus on resilience in the Italian school system

Author

Listed:
  • Tommaso Agasisti

    () (Politecnico di Milano)

  • Sergio Longobardi

    () (University of Naples “Parthenope”)

Abstract

The relationship between socio-economic status and student achievement is well documented and a widespread literature indicates that students from more advantaged backgrounds perform better at school. Despite this relationship, several international assessments have highlighted that in each country there is a relevant proportion of “resilient students”, i.e. students who come from a disadvantaged socio-economic background but achieve relatively high levels of educational performance. In this paper, the determinants of resilience in the Italian educational system are investigated analysing data from the OECD-PISA 2009 edition, with a specific focus on the role of school-level variables that could help more students succeed. The aim is to target a specific category of resilient students, namely those who are characterised by a low socioeconomic background both at family level and at school level; therefore a novel statistical procedure is proposed to derive a sample of disadvantaged students who attend disadvantaged schools. Afterwards a multilevel logistic approach is adopted to determine which characteristics of students, families and schools, tend to give disadvantaged students a higher probability of becoming a resilient. Our results confirm that not only individual-level characteristics, but also some school factors (i.e. extracurricular activities and school leadership) play a role in this direction, suggesting policy and managerial implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Tommaso Agasisti & Sergio Longobardi, 2012. "Inequality in education: can Italian disadvantaged students close the gap? A focus on resilience in the Italian school system," Working Papers 2012/39, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  • Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2012/6/doc2012-39
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ewijk, R. van & Sleegers, P, "undated". "The effect of peer socioeconomic status on student achievement: a meta-analysis," Working Papers 20, Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research.
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    3. Holmlund, Helena & McNally, Sandra & Viarengo, Martina, 2010. "Does money matter for schools?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 1154-1164, December.
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    7. Bradley, Steve & Taylor, Jim, 1998. "The Effect of School Size on Exam Performance in Secondary Schools," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(3), pages 291-324, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; disadvantaged schools; resilient students; school-level policies; educational production functions;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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