Rözer, Jesper, and Herman Van de Werfhorst (2019). Achievement inequalities and the impact of educational institutions. ISOTIS, report D1.4.

summary: In this report we reviewed the literature on how successful a broad range of educational policies are in reducing these inequalities – including educational expenditure, class size, teacher salaries, teaching hours, teacher quality, coverage of pre-primary school enrolment, age of compulsory education, tracking age, and vocational specificity. In addition, we tested how successful these policies are in tackling inequalities in high income countries. Therefore, we combined all available large scale student assessment data (i.e. the PIRLS, TIMSS, PISA and PIAAC), including information from 4,297,271 individuals (from grade 4 till age 33) living in 52 countries, and applied a variety of methods in which we look both at between country differences, within country changes over cohorts, and in which we follow cohorts over their life course. The results suggest that there are probably many unintended side-effects of educational policies, such as reducing class sizes, increasing teaching hours and increasing the level and experience of education of teachers. Implementing these policies nation-wide, without necessary directly targeting disadvantaged groups, often results that the most advantaged groups profit most from these policies. Furthermore, this reports draws attention to structural factors, such as a later age of tracking and its vocational specificity. Despite that these policies might be more difficult to implement, they might be crucial in tackling educational inequalities.

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