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Contribution to Book
Explaining Socioeconomic Inequalities in Student Achievement
Quantitative Research in Education (2008)
  • Gary Marks, ACER
  • John Cresswell
  • John Ainley, ACER

This paper examines the extent that material, social, and cultural resources and schools account for the relationship between socioeconomic background and student achievement among 15-year-olds in 30 countries. Generally, cultural factors play a more important role in most countries although in a small minority of countries, material resources have a substantial impact. Most often, social resources have little impact. In many countries, educational differentiation - that is, school tracks and school types, and curriculum tracking within schools - mediates the relationship between socioeconomic background and student achievement. Countries with highly tracked systems tend to show stronger relationships. On average, over 60 percent of the effect of socioeconomic background on achievement is accounted for by these factors. These findings are independent of whether achievement in reading, mathematics, or science is examined. The implications of this study for reducing socioeconomic inequalities in education are discussed. [This chapter is a reprint of the journal article, published in Educational Research and Evaluation 12 (2), pp. 105-128]

Publication Date
Stephen Gorard
Citation Information
Gary Marks, John Cresswell and John Ainley. "Explaining Socioeconomic Inequalities in Student Achievement" LondonQuantitative Research in Education Vol. 1 (2008)
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