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Comparing inequality in adolescents’ reading achievement across 37 countries and over time: outcomes versus opportunities


This paper assesses two approaches to the measurement of educational inequality in international comparisons between countries and over time. We analyse reading literacy performance of 15-year-old students using data from PISA 2009 and 2015 for 37 EU and OECD countries. We show that inequality of outcome and inequality of opportunity do not necessarily co-vary; they can go in opposite directions both across countries and over time. Our results suggest that indicators of variation in educational outcomes are more suitable to the types of problems that affect international comparisons of educational achievement than the more common approach of measuring of inequality of opportunity.


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Publication date: 2019

Author(s): Anna Gromada, Gwyther Rees, Yekaterina Chzhen

Journal: Compare: a journal of comparative and international education

Language: English

Peer reviewed: YES

Related Innocenti Project(s):

Children in high income countries


Industrialized countries