In this chapter, we seek to contribute to a line of international and comparative research that began with Heyneman and Loxley's 1983 study examining the importance of schools across national contexts. In their influential paper, Heyneman and Loxley found that in lower-income societies, schools (rather than families) constitute the predominant influence in explaining student achievement. Similar studies followed, often with results challenging Heyneman and Loxley's original findings. We argue that one reason for inconsistencies among these studies is the failure to account for the distribution of income. Until recently, few studies had examined whether school effects vary across countries with different levels of income inequality. Yet emerging evidence suggests that inequality plays an important role in determining the extent to which schools “matter” for student learning. In this study, we employ hierarchical linear modeling and two related yet distinct measures of inequality to examine how inequality relates to within- and between-country variations in student performance. We also explore whether, in certain countries, schools are differently able to help children from higher- and lower-Socio Economic Status (SES) groups. To capture sufficient variation in country context, we use data from nine diverse countries participating in the fourth grade application of the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Our findings indicate that schools are important in their own right, and especially important in unequal countries. However, schools may affect SES-based achievement gaps only in countries with high income and resource inequality, accompanied by heterogeneous classrooms in terms of SES composition.
Chudgar, A. and Luschei, T. (2010), "Does inequality influence the impact of schools on student mathematics achievement? A comparison of nine high-, medium-, and low-inequality countries", Wiseman, A. (Ed.) The Impact of International Achievement Studies on National Education Policymaking (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 63-84. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3679(2010)0000013006Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited