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

  • Tommaso Agasisti

    ()

    (Politecnico di Milano)

  • Sergio Longobardi

    ()

    (University of Naples “Parthenope”)

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.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2012/39.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2012/6/doc2012-39
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  1. Rosalind Levacic & Stephen Machin & David Reynolds & Anna Vignoles & James Walker, 2000. "The Relationship between Resource Allocation and Pupil Attainment: A Review," CEE Discussion Papers 0002, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  2. Ewijk, R. van & Sleegers, P, . "The effect of peer socioeconomic status on student achievement: a meta-analysis," Working Papers 20, Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research.
  3. Holmlund, Helena & McNally, Sandra & Viarengo, Martina, 2008. "Does Money Matter for Schools?," IZA Discussion Papers 3769, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. repec:lan:wpaper:1016 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. John Ruggiero & Donald F. Vitaliano, 1999. "Assessing The Efficiency Of Public Schools Using Data Envelopment Analysis And Frontier Regression," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(3), pages 321-331, 07.
  6. Giorgio Brunello & Daniele Checchi, 2007. "Does school tracking affect equality of opportunity? New international evidence," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22, pages 781-861, October.
  7. Ladd, Helen F. & Walsh, Randall P., 2002. "Implementing value-added measures of school effectiveness: getting the incentives right," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-17, February.
  8. repec:lan:wpaper:1015 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. 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.
  10. Rosalind Levacic & Anna Vignoles, 2002. "Researching the Links between School Resources and Student Outcomes in the UK: A Review of Issues and Evidence," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 313-331.
  11. repec:lan:wpaper:1092 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Bratti, Massimiliano & Checchi, Daniele & Filippin, Antonio, 2007. "Territorial Differences in Italian Students’ Mathematical Competencies: Evidence from PISA 2003," IZA Discussion Papers 2603, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
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