Social inequality in student performance in the Nordic countries: a comparison of methodological approaches

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapport/proceedingBidrag til bog/antologiForskningpeer review

In this chapter we address two research questions. Based on data from the latest PISA (2015) study for all Nordic countries we ask, firstly, to what extent the usage of different parental background indicators (such as parental education, occupation or PISA’s own index) changes the conclusions about the degree of educational inequality in the different countries. Secondly, we explore, whether the extent of inequality varies when we use a different statistical technique, quantile regression, which provides a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between social background and educational achievement across the entire distribution of achievement in the PISA tests. The comparisons of models measuring the variance in student test performance explained showed the relative ranking of the Nordic countries remained relatively stable across the different indicators. Based on the 2015 PISA data, Sweden emerged as the most unequal and Iceland as the most equal country across the different indicators. However, results based on the index used by the OECD to measure wealth or a family’s economic resources, the HOMEPOS index, did not quite fit this pattern. Our results based on quantile regression show that with the exception of Finland, the OLS coefficients overestimates the effect/association between ESCS and PISA-score for the students in the Nordic countries, who performed poorly in the PISA test but also underestimates the association for students, who are in higher quantiles of the achievement distribution. Implications of our findings are discussed.
TitelNorthern Ligths on TIMSS and PISA 2018
RedaktørerAnita Wester
Antal sider29
ForlagNordic Council of Ministers
Udgivelsesår25 sep. 2018
ISBN (trykt)978-92-893-5565-0
ISBN (Elektronisk) 978-92-893-5567-4
StatusUdgivet - 25 sep. 2018


  • Social ulighed, Grundskole, Internationale komparative undersøgelser, Måling, Test og karakter

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