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Equity in education - Breaking down barriers to social mobility

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In times of growing economic inequality, improving equity in education becomes more urgent. While some countries and economies that participate in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) have managed to build education systems where socio-economic status makes less of a difference to students’ learning and well-being, every country can do more.

Equity in Education: Breaking Down Barriers to Social Mobility shows that high performance and more positive attitudes towards schooling among disadvantaged 15-year-old students are strong predictors of success in higher education and work later on. The report examines how equity in education has evolved over several cycles of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). It identifies the policies and practices that can help disadvantaged students succeed academically and feel more engaged at school.

Using longitudinal data from five countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, and the United States), the report also describes the links between a student’s performance near the end of compulsory education and upward social mobility – i.e. attaining a higher level of education or working in a higher-status job than one’s parents.

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Equity in education - Breaking down barriers to social mobility

  1. 1. Equity in Education: Breaking down Barriers to Social Mobility Andreas Schleicher
  2. 2. Context • Higher income inequality and lower social mobility tend to go together – Greater income inequality limits education opportunities for talented yet underprivileged individuals – In societies with higher income inequality, disadvantaged youth tend to perceive smaller-than-actual returns to investing in further education – The actual increase in earnings associated with a university degree tends to be smaller for disadvantaged youth • Education can promote social mobility – but this varies across countries – High educational performance among disadvantaged youths is a strong predictor for their success in further education and work – In countries where educational success remains strongly linked to social background rather than student talent and attitudes, education may not promote greater social mobility but reproduce existing inequalities
  3. 3. Concepts Equality Equity Justice The assumption is that everyone benefits from the same supports. This is equal treatment. Everyone gets the supports they need All 3 can see the game without supports of accommodations because the cause(s) of the inequity was addressed.
  4. 4. Mean performance in science, by international deciles of the PISA index of economic, social and cultural status (ESCS) 250 300 350 400 450 500 550 600 650 VietNam76 Macao(China)22 B-S-J-G(China)52 Japan8 Singapore11 HongKong(China)26 ChineseTaipei12 Estonia5 Finland2 Korea6 Portugal28 Germany7 Canada2 Poland16 Spain31 UnitedKingdom5 Latvia25 Slovenia5 Switzerland8 Australia4 NewZealand5 Ireland5 CzechRepublic9 Denmark3 Hungary16 OECDaverage12 Netherlands4 France9 Italy15 Belgium7 Norway1 Sweden3 Austria5 Russia5 UnitedStates11 Croatia10 Lithuania12 CABA(Argentina)18 SlovakRepublic8 Chile27 Luxembourg14 Iceland1 Malta13 Uruguay39 Greece13 Romania20 Israel6 Turkey59 Indonesia74 Moldova28 Mexico53 Thailand55 Bulgaria13 Colombia43 CostaRica38 TrinidadandTobago14 Peru50 Jordan21 Montenegro11 UnitedArabEmirates3 Brazil43 Georgia19 Tunisia39 Lebanon27 FYROM13 Algeria52 Qatar3 Kosovo10 DominicanRepublic40 Scorepoints Bottom decile Second decile Middle decile Ninth decile Top decile Figure I.6.7 % of students in the bottom international deciles of ESCS OECD median student
  5. 5. Equity in education outcomes Figure 2.1 Cognitive achievement Socio-emotional well-being Educational attainment Student socio-economic background Completion of upper secondary and tertiary education Years of schooling Career expectations Science self-efficacy Sense of belonging at school Performance in PISA Performance in childhood, adolescence and adulthood
  6. 6. Equity in education outcomes Figure 2.1 Cognitive achievement Socio-emotional well-being Educational attainment Student socio-economic background Completion of upper secondary and tertiary education Years of schooling Career expectations Science self-efficacy Sense of belonging at school Performance in PISA Performance in childhood, adolescence and adulthood
  7. 7. Overall educational attainment is rising But inequity in completion of tertiary education persists over time within countries
  8. 8. Wealthier countries have benefited more from the expansion of access to education over the past century 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 1901-1905 1906-1910 1911-1915 1916-1920 1921-1925 1926-1930 1931-1935 1936-1940 1941-1945 1946-1950 1951-1955 1956-1960 1961-1965 1966-1970 1971-1975 1976-1980 1981-1985 Years of schooling Year of birth High-income-economies Upper-middle-income economies Lower-middle-income economies Low-income economies Figure 2.10
  9. 9. Expansion in education does not automatically result in greater equity Expansion opens opportunities for education to more students, who those students are determines whether expansion improves equity 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 1901-1905 1906-1910 1911-1915 1916-1920 1921-1925 1926-1930 1931-1935 1936-1940 1941-1945 1946-1950 1951-1955 1956-1960 1961-1965 1966-1970 1971-1975 1976-1980 1981-1985 Years of schooling Year of birth High-income-economies Upper-middle-income economies Lower-middle-income economies Low-income economies Equity has improved Equity has declined
  10. 10. Upward educational mobility varies across countries Figure 2.12 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Cyprus RussianFederation Singapore Korea Finland Greece Belgium France Ireland Poland Lithuania Canada Netherlands Estonia Sweden Japan PIAACaverage Australia Israel NewZealand Spain NorthernIreland England Slovenia Chile Denmark Norway Italy SlovakRepublic UnitedStates Austria Turkey Germany CzechRepublic % Downward mobility No mobility Upward mobility Adults reported higher educational attainment than their parents
  11. 11. Upward educational mobility has changed over time 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Turkey Italy CzechRepublic Spain Austria Germany Chile Ireland Korea NorthernIreland Netherlands Slovenia Greece England UnitedStates France Norway SlovakRepublic PIAACaverage Australia Denmark NewZealand Singapore Japan Belgium Sweden Israel Canada Cyprus Poland Estonia Finland RussianFederation Lithuania Cohort 1 (age 56-65) Cohort 2 (age 46-55) Cohort 3 (age 36-45) Cohort 4 (age 26-35)% Figure 2.14
  12. 12. Equity in education outcomes Figure 2.1 Cognitive achievement Socio-emotional well-being Educational attainment Student socio-economic background Completion of upper secondary and tertiary education Years of schooling Career expectations Science self-efficacy Sense of belonging at school Performance in PISA Performance in childhood, adolescence and adulthood
  13. 13. 300 350 400 450 500 550 600 650 700 DominicanRepublic Peru Lebanon FYROM Kosovo Tunisia Brazil Algeria Jordan Georgia Indonesia Qatar Colombia Mexico Montenegro CostaRica Moldova TrinidadandTobago Bulgaria Uruguay Cyprus Turkey UnitedArabEmirates Romania Chile Thailand CABA(Argentina) Malta SlovakRepublic Greece Israel Hungary Luxembourg Lithuania France Italy Croatia CzechRepublic Austria Iceland Belgium Sweden OECDaverage Spain Switzerland UnitedStates Russia Portugal B-S-J-G(China) Latvia Poland Norway NewZealand Netherlands Ireland Germany Denmark Australia Slovenia UnitedKingdom Korea ChineseTaipei Canada Finland Singapore Japan VietNam Estonia HongKong(China) Macao(China) National top performers (students in top quarter of science performance in country) Disadvantaged students (bottom quarter of socio-economic status in country) Mean score The average difference in science scores between disadvantaged and top-performing students is more than 100 points Figure 3.2 Proficiency Level 5 in science Proficiency Level 3 in science
  14. 14. Equity can improve, and in relatively short time (Reading) 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Peru Belgium Indonesia Finland Ireland Singapore Romania SlovakRepublic Greece Korea Moldova Malta Italy Austria Sweden Macao(China) Thailand France Georgia Japan Tunisia Qatar Latvia Spain CostaRica Jordan TrinidadandTobago Croatia Estonia ChineseTaipei Luxembourg Iceland NewZealand Lithuania Poland Colombia Portugal Russia OECDaverage Norway Netherlands Canada Montenegro HongKong(China) CzechRepublic Bulgaria Hungary Australia Uruguay Slovenia UnitedKingdom Brazil Denmark Switzerland Israel FYROM UnitedArabEmirates Turkey Chile Mexico Germany UnitedStates 2000 2009 2015% Figure 2.4 Greaterequity
  15. 15. Socio-economic disparities in mathematics are evident among young children and keep growing during adolescence and early adulthood 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 Canada Greece Australia Netherlands Ireland Average (12countries) Austria Norway Czech Republic UnitedStates England Korea NewZealand 10-year-olds (TIMSS 1995) 15-year-olds (PISA 2000) 25-29 year-olds (PIAAC) Standardised gap Figure 2.6 Less More Socio-economicdisparity
  16. 16. Equity in education outcomes Figure 2.1 Cognitive achievement Socio-emotional well-being Educational attainment Student socio-economic background Completion of upper secondary and tertiary education Years of schooling Career expectations Science self-efficacy Sense of belonging at school Performance in PISA Performance in childhood, adolescence and adulthood
  17. 17. Greaterequity Disparities in science self-efficacy are large 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 Estonia-0.28-0.13 Croatia-0.21-0.17 Russia-0.30-0.38 Korea-0.33-0.58 Belgium-0.45-0.36 ChineseTaipei-0.21-0.24 Israel-0.11-0.20 CzechRepublic-0.17-0.10 SlovakRepublic-0.41-0.20 Austria-0.59-0.57 France-0.48-0.43 Japan-0.73-0.86 Macao(China)-0.29-0.40 Italy-0.09-0.44 Portugal-0.04-0.13 Luxembourg-0.37-0.48 Finland-0.33-0.29 Netherlands-0.33-0.19 Canada0.00-0.16 Denmark-0.30-0.42 Latvia-0.21-0.31 Sweden-0.25-0.43 Norway-0.12-0.25 OECDaverage-0.25-0.34 NewZealand-0.37-0.40 Slovenia-0.22-0.48 Iceland-0.13-0.37 Spain-0.46-0.41 Brazil-0.05-0.35 Uruguay-0.17-0.22 Australia-0.27-0.30 Ireland-0.32-0.39 Jordan0.37-0.03 Greece-0.30-0.44 HongKong(China)-0.29-0.29 UnitedStates-0.05-0.13 Lithuania0.02-0.42 Tunisia-0.20-0.29 Poland-0.11-0.18 Switzerland-0.43-0.53 Qatar0.21-0.34 Hungary-0.24-0.40 Indonesia-0.67-1.03 Chile-0.34-0.30 UnitedKingdom-0.01-0.26 Germany-0.27-0.37 Mexico0.17-0.15 Romania-0.31-0.61 Thailand0.10-0.20 Bulgaria0.12-0.58 Turkey0.26-0.32 Colombia-0.08-0.17 Montenegro0.17-0.51 2006 2015Index difference 20062015 Figure 2.8 Meanscience self-efficacyindex ofdisadvantaged studentsin:
  18. 18. Who succeeds despite disadvantage? Academic resilience among disadvantaged students
  19. 19. Types of academic resilience in PISA Figure 3.1 Types of academic resilience What are these students able to achieve? How do we measure it? International Academic excellence by international standards Socio-economically disadvantaged students in their own countries who score… ...in the top quarter of performance in science among all students participating in PISA, after adjusting for socio-economic background National Academic excellence by national standards ...in the top quarter of performance in science among students in their own country Core-skills Core knowledge and skills in key cognitive domains ...at or above Level 3 in PISA in science, reading and mathematics
  20. 20. The share of academically resilient students varies widely, both in relative and absolute terms 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 DominicanRepublic Kosovo Peru FYROM Tunisia Qatar Lebanon Algeria Georgia Jordan UnitedArabEmirates Montenegro Brazil CostaRica Cyprus Indonesia Romania Colombia TrinidadandTobago Mexico Moldova Bulgaria Uruguay Chile CABA(Argentina) Israel Iceland SlovakRepublic Greece Thailand Hungary Luxembourg Malta Turkey Lithuania Croatia Sweden CzechRepublic Russia Austria Norway Italy France Belgium Denmark Switzerland OECDaverage Ireland NewZealand Netherlands UnitedStates Australia Germany Slovenia Poland Latvia UnitedKingdom Portugal Canada Spain Korea Finland B-S-J-G(China) ChineseTaipei Estonia Japan Singapore HongKong(China) Macao(China) VietNam Internationally resilient Nationally resilient Core-skills resilient % Figure 3.3 Some countries with fewer internationally and core-skills resilient students have many nationally resilient students
  21. 21. Algeria Macao (China) Hong Kong (China) Kosovo Montenegro Iceland FYROM Russia Qatar United Arab Emirates France Belgium Czech Republic B-S-J-G (China) Hungary Luxembourg Peru CABA (Argentina) R² = 0.75 0 5 10 15 20 25 051015202530 Nationallyresilientstudents(%) Variation in science performance explained by students' socio-economic status (%) National resilience is strongly linked to equity in student achievement Figure 3.5 Greater equity OECD average OECDaverage
  22. 22. Some predictors of academic resilience (national resilience) Difference in the share of resilient students by characteristic Figure 3.7 0 5 10 15 20 25 Percentage-point dif. OECD Pre-primary education: Started at typical age (vs did not attend) Gender: Boys (vs girls) School location: City (vs rural area) Immigrant background: No (vs immigrant background) Disciplinary climate in school: Top quarter (vs bottom quarter) Skipped a school day in last two weeks: No (vs yes) Programme orientation: General (vs vocational programme) Motivation to achieve: Top quarter (vs bottom quarter) Repeated a grade: No (vs repeated one or more grades) School socio-economic profile: Advantaged (vs disadvantaged school)
  23. 23. Who succeeds despite disadvantage? Social-emotional resilience among disadvantaged students
  24. 24. Index of social and emotional resilience in PISA Figure 3.9 ...feel socially integrated at school ... don't suffer from test anxiety Socially and emotionally resilient students Disadvantaged students who... ...feel satisfied with their life Students' overall well-being Students' social well-being Students' psychological well-being and and
  25. 25. Some 26% of disadvantaged students are socially and emotionally resilient 0 20 40 60 80 100 Colombia DominicanRepublic Brazil CostaRica Peru Turkey Uruguay HongKong(China) UnitedKingdom Italy B-S-J-G(China) ChineseTaipei Portugal Tunisia Bulgaria UnitedStates Macao(China) Qatar Montenegro Japan Spain Greece UnitedArabEmirates Mexico Cyprus Slovenia Chile Thailand Lithuania Hungary Ireland Korea SlovakRepublic Luxembourg OECDaverage Belgium Russia Poland Austria Estonia CzechRepublic Iceland France Latvia Germany Croatia Finland Switzerland Netherlands Feel socially integrated at school Do not suffer from test anxiety Feel satisfied with life Disad.students(%) Figure 3.10 0 10 20 30 40 50 Index of social and emotional resilience Index(%)
  26. 26. 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 HongKong(China) Netherlands Colombia ChineseTaipei Latvia Qatar Finland UnitedKingdom CostaRica Uruguay Japan Hungary Portugal Korea Montenegro Poland Estonia Ireland Macao(China) France Thailand Russia Luxembourg SlovakRepublic Croatia UnitedArabEmirates Lithuania OECDaverage Peru UnitedStates Italy Brazil Slovenia Germany Greece Tunisia Turkey Mexico CzechRepublic Cyprus³ DominicanRepublic Austria Spain Chile B-S-J-G(China) Switzerland Bulgaria Belgium Iceland Nationally resilient students Core-skills resilient students Odds ratio Nationally and core-skills resilient students are more likely to be socially and emotionally resilient Figure 3.11
  27. 27. How are disadvantaged students affected by the socio-economic profile of their school? The double disadvantage
  28. 28. Some 48% of disadvantaged students attend disadvantaged schools, on average across OECD countries Figure 4.1 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 Finland Kosovo Sweden Albania Norway Algeria FYROM Croatia Ireland Switzerland TrinidadandTobago Iceland Montenegro NewZealand HongKong(China) Canada UnitedKingdom Korea Denmark Germany Poland Singapore Netherlands Latvia Jordan Malta Luxembourg Uruguay Greece Estonia OECDaverage ChineseTaipei Austria UnitedArabEmirates Slovenia Portugal Cyprus¹ Macao(China) Turkey Japan Thailand Italy Romania DominicanRepublic France Lithuania Belgium SlovakRepublic Russia Tunisia Spain CzechRepublic Georgia UnitedStates Israel Australia Moldova Brazil CostaRica Bulgaria VietNam Colombia Qatar Chile Indonesia Hungary Lebanon B-S-J-G(China) Mexico CABA(Argentina) Peru % Percentage of disadvantaged students in disadvantaged schools
  29. 29. Across OECD countries, disadvantaged students attending advantaged schools score 78 points higher than those in disadvantaged schools 420 440 460 480 500 520 540 560 580 Disadvantaged schools Schools that are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged Advantaged schools Disadvantaged students Students who are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged Advantaged students Mean score Figure 4.3 But in Finland, Iceland, Macao, Norway and Poland disadvantaged students perform equally well in advantaged and disadvantaged schools
  30. 30. In some countries, attending a more advantaged school is associated with significantly better performance -40 0 40 80 120 160 Iceland Finland Norway Poland Moldova Sweden Algeria Mexico Spain Peru CostaRica Colombia UnitedStates Thailand Denmark Estonia Brazil Macao(China) Indonesia Georgia CABA(Argentina) Tunisia Jordan DominicanRepublic Lebanon VietNam Latvia Chile Ireland Portugal Uruguay Russia Canada Lithuania Romania Australia Kosovo FYROM UnitedArabEmirates UnitedKingdom Cyprus OECDaverage Luxembourg Turkey Switzerland Israel SlovakRepublic Qatar HongKong(China) Greece NewZealand Bulgaria Croatia Montenegro Italy Belgium Singapore Korea Austria B-S-J-G(China) Hungary Germany TrinidadandTobago ChineseTaipei CzechRepublic Malta Slovenia Netherlands France Japan Score-point dif. Disadvantaged students Figure 4.4 On average across OECD countries, a one-unit increase in school-level socio-economic status is associated with a 60 score-point improvement in performance among disadvantaged students
  31. 31. CABA (Argentina) Costa Rica Sweden Bulgaria Romania Viet Nam Uruguay United States Norway Chile Hungary B-S-J-G (China) Turkey Mexico Portugal Iceland Korea Albania Japan Trinidad and Tobago UAE Algeria Ireland Indonesia New Zealand Colombia Peru Macao (China) Spain Switzerland Lebanon Netherlands Germany Slovak Republic UK Slovenia Brazil Kosovo Finland Thailand Latvia R² = 0.20 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Socio-economicinclusionacrossschools Academic inclusion across schools (%) OECD average OECD average Academic and social inclusion across schools Figure II.5.12
  32. 32. Educational mobility and school-to-work transitions among disadvantaged students
  33. 33. In Denmark, PISA performance explains most of the differences in literacy and numeracy proficiency observed at age 26 Figure 5.8 Percentage explained by PISA reading performance 56% Percentage explained by years of schooling 5% Percentage unexplained 39% Percentage explained by PISA mathematics performance 69% Percentage explained by years of schooling 14% Percentage unexplained 17% Percentage of the difference in PIAAC literacy proficiency explained Percentage of the difference in PIAAC numeracy proficiency explained
  34. 34. Educational mobility and school-to-work transitions among disadvantaged students Performance at age 15 and progression into higher education and careers
  35. 35. There are strong correlations between performance in PISA and university completion by age 25 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Switzerland Denmark United States Canada Australia Bottom quarter of performance Second quarter of performance Third quarter of performance Top quarter of performance Students who completed university (%) Figure 5.3
  36. 36. Difference in university completion rates between 25-year-old adults with and without tertiary-educated parents Figure 5.4 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 29.3 Australia 24.3 Canada 14.3 Denmark 11.1 Switzerland 21.9 United States % dif. Difference before accounting for reading performance Difference after accounting for reading performance % of disadvantaged students who completed university by age 25 Even when comparing students with similar levels of performance, those with tertiary-educated parents are between 10 and 22 percentage points more likely to complete university than those with less-educated parents.
  37. 37. Students with tertiary-educated parents are between 7 and 20 percentage points more likely to have a skilled job at age 25 Figure 5.6 0 5 10 15 20 25 22.2 Australia 26.6 Canada 30.5 Denmark 16.7 Switzerland 35.5 United States % dif. Difference before accounting for reading performance Difference after accounting for reading performance % of disadvantaged students who have a skilled job at age 25 Even when comparing students with similar levels of performance, those with tertiary-educated parents are between 10 and 13 percentage points more likely to have a skilled job than those with less-educated parents.
  38. 38. Educational mobility and school-to-work transitions among disadvantaged students Career expectations and progression into higher education and careers
  39. 39. Higher career expectations at age 15 are associated with a greater likelihood of skilled employment at age 25 Figure 5.9 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 20.1 Australia 25.4 Canada 26.5 Denmark 19.5 Switzerland % dif. Difference before accounting for reading performance Difference after accounting for reading performance % in skilled employment at age 25 who did not expect it at age 15 In Australia, Canada and Denmark, even when comparing students with similar levels of performance, those with high career expectations at age 15 are between 7 and 33 percentage points more likely to have a skilled job than those with lower expectations.
  40. 40. Fifteen-year-old students surrounded by peers with high career expectations are more likely to earn a university degree by age 25 Figure 5.15 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 25.9 Australia 27.8 Canada 24.0 Denmark 8.6 Switzerland % dif. Difference before accounting for PISA reading performance Difference after accounting for PISA reading performance % in schools with low peer expectations at 15 who completed university by 25 In Australia, Canada and Switzerland, when comparing students with similar levels of performance, those surrounded by peers with high career expectations at age 15 are between 7 and 20 percentage points more likely to complete university than those in schools with lower peer expectations.
  41. 41. Students who invest greater effort and perseverance at age 15 are more likely to complete university by 25 Figure 5.10 0 5 10 15 20 25 18.7 Denmark 10.5 Switzerland 25.6 United States Difference between 15-year-old students with high and those with low perseverance Difference between 15-year-old students with high and those with low perseverance, after accounting for parents' education and PISA reading performance% dif. % of students with low effort and perseverance who completed university
  42. 42. Some conclusions • Support disadvantaged children, adolescents and young adults in their education • Provide quality early-education programmes to disadvantaged children • Set ambitious goals and monitor the progress of disadvantaged students • Develop teachers’ capacity to detect student needs and manage diverse classrooms • Target additional resources towards disadvantaged students and schools • Reduce the concentration of disadvantaged students in particular schools • Create a climate that favours learning and well-being • Encourage parent-teacher communication and parental engagement
  43. 43. Responsive School Systems: Connecting Facilities, Sectors and Programmes for Student Success • Responsive School Systems: Connecting Facilities, Sectors and Programmes for Student Success provides analyses and policy options to assist governments in promoting educational quality, equity and efficiency through the organisation of school facilities and education services in a context of changing demand for school places and evolving student needs.
  44. 44. Find out more about our work at www.oecd.org/pisa – All publications – The complete micro-level database Email: Andreas.Schleicher@OECD.org Twitter: SchleicherOECD Wechat: AndreasSchleicher Thank you

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