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School socioeconomic status and student outcomes in reading and mathematics: A comparison of Australia and Canada

Perry, L.B. and McConney, A. (2013) School socioeconomic status and student outcomes in reading and mathematics: A comparison of Australia and Canada. Australian Journal of Education, 57 (2). pp. 124-140.

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Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0004944113485836
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Abstract

Previous research has established that student outcomes are strongly associated with the socioeconomic composition of a school, also known as school socioeconomic status. Less is known, however, about the ways in which the relationship varies for different students, schools and national education systems. Here, we conduct a secondary analysis of an international dataset to examine the strength of the relationship between school socioeconomic status and achievement in math and reading for Canada and Australia. The history, economy and culture of these two countries are similar, as are many aspects of their education systems. One important difference, however, is the degree to which their education systems are marketised. Our findings show that in both countries, school socioeconomic status is strongly associated with academic achievement for all students, regardless of their individual socioeconomic status. Nevertheless, the relationship between school socioeconomic status and academic achievement is substantially stronger in Australia than in Canada. We conclude that student outcomes are more equitable in Canada than in Australia, and suggest that this may be due to differences in the ways in which the two education systems are funded and structured.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Publisher: Australian Council for Educational Research
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/16581
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