Leveling the Learning Bar in Secondary School Across Social Class

Marie Duru-Bellat

in Lessons in Educational Equality

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199755011
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918867 | DOI:
Leveling the Learning Bar in Secondary School Across Social Class

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This chapter focuses on educational equity in the world’s most affluent countries, where access to primary schooling is now universal and what is at stake is developing equitable secondary and tertiary schooling. In these countries, secondary school students from poorer backgrounds are less likely to achieve at the level necessary to advance to higher levels of education and more likely to drop out of school than their more affluent peers. Drawing on evidence from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), this chapter explores interventions at the individual, school and neighbourhood level that can keep youth from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds engaged in school, raise their achievement, and prepare them for higher education. It finds that there is not necessarily a trade-off between efficiency and equity: countries with high mean levels of performance are typically the ones in which the disparities between pupils are the smallest.

Keywords: secondary school; secondary education; educational equity; socioeconomic equity; socioeconomic gap; achievement gap; low-income students

Chapter.  7042 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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