ERG SES G 09, Education and Quality
The first research question of this paper is “Are equity and excellence in education correlated?”. It is aimed to find international patterns for the relationship between equity and excellence. It has been claimed by some scholars that it is almost impossible to have an excellent education system when providing equal opportunities to all (Valverde, 1988). Having its roots in economics, this view argues that there is a necessary trade-off between these two concepts. However, research in recent years showed that there is not a trade-off between these two dimensions of education (Duru-Bellat & Suchaut, 2005; Micklewright & Schnepf, 2007; Schutz, Ursprung, & Wossmann, 2008). On the other hand, the claim of this work is that there may even be a positive relationship between equity and excellence.
My second research question is “What are the social determinants of excellence in education?”. Related also to the first question I also ask how to acquire equity in education systems if equity and excellence are positively correlated. If not, then how to acquire excellence in heterogeneous education systems.
Pfeffer (2012) summarizes the two main aims of education systems as (1)enabling individuals to participate in social, political and economic life; and (2)offering opportunities for social mobility. This study focuses on these two dimensions which can be called as excellence and equity in education, respectively. The studies on the role of education in preparing individuals to social life can be dated back to Durkheim (1956) and the studies about the role of education related to social stratification can be dated back to Coleman report (Coleman, Campbell, & Hobson, 1966).
Coleman(1968) outlined different types of inequalities in schooling. Some of these inequalities are related to inputs such as enrolment levels, materials provided for schools or public expenditure in schooling. Some inequalities on the other hand related to educational outcomes. Later on, many other scholars developed different classifications of concepts of equality in education. In this study my aim is to focus on inequalities between students in terms of educational outcomes. Thus, I prefer to use the term equity referring to equity of outcomes in the way defined by Gillborn & Youdell (2000). They argue that equitable outcomes of education would at least decrease differences in school achievement, college attendance, employment, etc. between different groups, although it may be impossible to eliminate them all. It is not referring to an education system in which everybody is achieving at the same level. However, if there is no discrimination, different social groups should have similar levels of average achievement.
The other concept used in this study is excellence. The terms quality and excellence are used often interchangeably in sociology of education studies (Smith & Lusthaus, 1995). The main reason for me to use excellence instead of quality is the connotations of the ‘quality’ referring to school effectiveness studies (Reynolds & Hopkins, 1994) or total quality management studies in education (Bonstingl, 1992) . This study aims to target the need for dealing with the qualities in education particularly throughputs or outputs of education instead of basic inputs in quantities like level of schooling or public expenditure on education. Pfeffer (2012)’s definition as ‘the degree to which national education systems help individuals develop capabilities necessary for their successful social integration’ is fitting to to my conceptualization of excellence in education. Capability Theory conceptualized by Amartya Sen (1997) is relevant to this research as it is defining capabilities as the functionings to reach and achieve valuable beings and doings in the life of a person.
Bonstingl, J. (1992). The Quality Revolution in Education. Educational Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/recordDetail?accno=EJ454318 Coleman, J. S. (1968). The Concept of Equality of Educational Opportunity. Harvard Educational Review, 38(1), 7–23. Coleman, J. S., Campbell, E., & Hobson, C. (1966). Equality of educational opportunity Washington. DC: US Government …. Retrieved from http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&q=Equality+of+educational+opportunity&btnG=&as_sdt=1,5&as_sdtp=#19 Durkheim, E. (1956). Education: Its Nature and Its Role. In Education and Sociology (pp. 61–90). The Free Press. Duru-Bellat, M., & Suchaut, B. (2005). Organisation and Context, Efficiency and Equity of Educational Systems: what PISA tells us. European Educational Research Journal, 4(3), 181. Retrieved from http://www.wwwords.co.uk/rss/abstract.asp?j=eerj&aid=2507&doi=1 Gillborn, D., & Youdell, D. (2000). Rationing Education (p. 253). Buckingham: Open University Press. Micklewright, J., & Schnepf, S. V. (2007). Inequality of learning in industrialized countries. In S. P. Jenkins & J. Micklewright (Eds.), Inequality and Poverty Re-Examined (pp. 129–145). Oxford: Oxford University Press. OECD. (n.d.). About PISA. Retrieved November 14, 2013, from http://www.oecd.org/pisa/aboutpisa/ Pfeffer, F. T. (2012). Equality and Quality in Education Population Studies Center Research Report 774. Reynolds, D., & Hopkins, D. (1994). School Effectiveness and Quality in Education. In P. Ribbins & E. Burridge (Eds.), Improving Education Promoting quality in schools (pp. 18–31). Cassell. Robeyns, I. (2006). Three models of education: Rights, capabilities and human capital. Theory and Research in Education, 4(1), 69–84. doi:10.1177/1477878506060683 Schutz, G., Ursprung, H. W., & Wossmann, L. (2008). Education Policy and Equality of Opportunity. Kyklos, 61(2), 279–308. Sen, A. (1997). Editorial: Human capital and human capability. World Development. doi:10.1016/S0305-750X(97)10014-6 Smith, W. J., & Lusthaus, C. (1995). The Nexus of Equality and Quality in Education: A Framework for Debate. Canadian Journal of Education / Revue Canadienne de L’éducation, 20(3), 378–391. doi:10.2307/1494860 Tikly, L., & Barrett, A. M. (2011). Social justice, capabilities and the quality of education in low income countries. International Journal of Educational Development, 31(1), 3–14. doi:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2010.06.001 Valverde, L. A. (1988). The coexistence of excellence and equality. Education and Urban Society, (20), 315–318.
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Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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