Conference Agenda

RN10_07b: Social inequality in primary and secondary education
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Dinah Gross, University of Lausanne
Location: UP.3.211
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Third Floor Oxford Road


Student Enrolment in Upper Secondary Education within Ethnically and Socioeconomically Heterogeneous municipalities in southern Stockholm, Sweden

Håkan Forsberg

Uppsala University, Sweden

This paper investigates how young peoples´ enrolment in upper secondary education are marked by segregation and marketisation of education. The study especially targets differences in how students with foreign and Swedish background navigate the local school market. Research is narrowed down to eight municipalities in southern Stockholm, Sweden, that are characterised by ethnically and socioeconomically heterogeneous residential areas. I argue that all students living in this region constitutes a socio-geographical space in which the school market is embedded and operates.

Drawing on Bourdieu’s concepts of field, capital and strategy the socio-geographical space of the school market in this particular region and how it relates to school enrolment is analysed with specific multiple correspondence analyses (specific MCA) and Class specific MCA. Using individual census data on all students in the designated municipalities from 2013 to 2014, the differences between 10 967 students are investigated as regards their parents’ education, income, occupation, services, and national origin, and the students’ earlier academic merits.

The analysis concludes that students’ enrolment in upper secondary schools and study programmes are related to their amount of resources, separating students with a high capital volume from those with a low capital volume into academic and vocational tracks, respectively. However, when the composition and distribution of students’ inherited and acquired capital is more thoroughly analysed, other power relations emerge such as a dimension separating students with a migration background and a large capital volume from students with Swedish working class background and a low capital volume.

The Effects of National Performance Standards on Educational Poverty – Findings from a Fixed Effects Approach with PISA Data

Janna Teltemann1, Reinhard Schunck2

1University of Hildesheim, Germany; 2GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences

Policy makers and researchers share a strong interest in school and system factors, which have the potential to reduce educational inequality and to alleviate educational poverty. The aim ist to ensure equity in education. One common understanding of equity focuses on societal participation opportunitities. Securing societal participation requires determining minimum levels of education that seem necessary for entering the labour market and other societal spheres - and ensuring that every student reaches this level.

Performance standards can thus be a measure for reaching equity and for avoiding educational poverty. Standards, for example in the form of national standardized tests, function as an incentive for teachers to adapt teaching and learning opportunities. Previous works on effects of standardization of education systems focused on standardization of school leaving certificates. Studies showed that more standardization is related to lower social inequality at labour market transitions. So far, less research is devoted to the effects of performance standards on low performance („educational poverty“). We present an innovative way of analyzing a pooled dataset from the OECD PISA studies 2003, 2009 and 2015. We apply multilevel modeling with country fixed effects, thereby avoiding common problems of bias in cross-sectional analyses. Our focus lies on the effect of standardization on the risk of performing below competence level 2 in reading („educational poverty“). Further, we analyze interactions with individual socio-economic status and migration background. Preliminary results show that performance standards are more effective for reducing the effect of immigrant background on the risk of low performance. They are less effective for reducing socio-economic disparities in educational poverty.

Does It Make Sense to Measure the Inequality of Opportunity in Education? Comparing Inequality of Opportunity to Inequality of Outcome in Adolescents’ Reading Achievement Across 37 Countries and Over Time

Anna Gromada, Yekaterina Chzhen, Gwyther Rees

UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Italy

We demonstrate the implications of using six different approaches to the conceptualization and measurement of inequality for cross-country and over-time comparisons of educational disparities. We analyze reading literacy performance of 15-year-old students using data from PISA 2009 and 2015 for 37 EU and OECD countries. We show not only that inequality of outcome and inequality of opportunity do not have to go hand in hand but that they can move in opposite directions. Our results suggest that indicators of variation in educational outcomes are more robust to the types of problems that affect international comparisons of educational achievement than the more common approach of measuring of inequality of opportunity.

The Social Space of Swedish Preschools: A Bourdieusian Analysis of Families’ Preschool Enrolment in a Marketised Welfare State

Jennifer Charlotte Waddling, Håkan Forsberg

Uppsala University, Sweden

Swedish preschool provision has grown exponentially since the 1970s to become a welfare-service that 95 percent of all 4-5 year olds attend. Since the 1990s, independent actors have been authorised to establish preschools. This has facilitated the development of local preschool markets, where families are able to ‘choose’ between settings. In this paper, we present results from an ongoing investigation of families’ educational strategies regarding preschool enrolment. Drawing on Bourdieu’s concepts of field, capital and strategy, we analyse how the composition and distribution of capital among parents relates to the character of the preschool within which they enrol. The analysis is based on individual register data from Statistics Sweden on all families in Sweden for the year 2016. This comprises of information on approximately 500 000 children. We use specific multiple correspondence analysis (specific MCA) to analyse the differences between these children (using their parents’ education, income, occupation, and national origin), the preschools’ socio-economical and pedagogical characteristics (such as social recruitment, and teacher composition regarding their social background), and the composition of providers in the preschool market. The analysis of the Swedish social space of preschools reveals an overarching structure of enrolment that is related to, on the one hand, the distribution and composition of families’ capital, and on the other hand, the demographic, geographic, socio-economic and business-orientated conditions that frames the providers place in the market. Hence, local preschool markets’ offers are socio-economically and ethnically stratified, allowing families to strategize for their children’s care/education and social context.