The Effects of Socio-Economic and Geographic Inequalities on Pupils` Educational Outcomes

Date: 01.08.2013
The "Chilean Winter" burst in 2011 with massive student-led protests supported by the general population as a response to the long-standing problem of the inequalities in the educational system. Students and citizens` unrest mainly came from the awareness of the high level of socio-economic segregation of Chilean schools, where children attend schools whose quality depends on what their parents can afford, which has had a major impact on the equality of opportunities for decades. This research seeks to analyse the effects of socio-economic inequality on the academic performance of Chilean students moving from primary to secondary school, at the level of pupils, classrooms, schools and local authorities.The analysis uses the Ministry of Education`s standardised tests datasets (with N=202,605) from 2004-2006 to implement a 4-level model of change in Mathematics performance. Results from this multilevel model indicate that attainment is mostly associated with external factors (i.e. classroom, school, local authority) rather than pupils` characteristics. After controlling for intake scores and socio-economic characteristics, the between-school variation reduces noticeably, but there still remain a handful of schools performing above and below average. From a value-added theoretical perspective, it is found that only a few schools actually add value to their pupils` educational trajectories.This research intends to contribute to the understanding of educational inequalities in the context of a developing country, where socio-economic disparities do not only produce differences in achievement between schools but also between localities, which are remarkably greater than those found in more egalitarian developed countries.