ERG SES G 01, Inclusive Education
The correlation between tracking practice and educational equality and performance has been increasingly brought to agenda for the past two decades with international assessments such as PISA and TIMSS findings (OECD, 2013). According to such international assessments, student success is considerably high and performance gap between students is quite low in countries such as Finland, South Korea and Japan. These countries converge on the belief that tracking practice does not comply with the principle of providing equal educational opportunities for every child. Finland is particularly shown as a model in this respect. In Finland, where education is considered a national asset and everyone’s right, the implementation of comprehensive school systems is shown as one of the main reasons for the success achieved in educational equality and performance. On the other hand, it is argued that tracking practice is one of the leading mechanisms sustaining and exacerbating social inequalities in the United States, one of the most unequal countries in the world (Oakes, 2005). Furthermore, a variety of research shows that the socio-economic status of family is a major determinant on the student’s academic performance in Turkey (Alacacı and Erbaş 2010; Gümüş and Chudgar 2016; Köse 2007; Oral and Mcgıvney 2014). The results obtained from the PISA and TIMSS studies also affirm this finding. For instance, according to the PISA 2015 survey, the rate of students below -1 in the PISA index of economic, social and cultural status (ESCS) is under 20 percent for OECD countries, while this rate is 64 percent for Turkey. In other words, 64 percent of the students in Turkey are disadvantaged in socio-economic and cultural terms, which is the highest ratio among the OECD countries. But some children overcomes socioeconomic disadvantages and gains academic success. These children are considered to have academic resilience (OECD 2011).
Turkey is a special case within the OECD and EU countries because all students tracked into different performance groups in the secondary education between 2014-2017 and, the rate of students who have low ESCS score is extraordinarily high. This study is the first comprehensive study that scrutinize the effect of selectivity on educational equality and social policies on the academic resilience of poor children in Turkey.
This study investigates the determinants of academic achievement of the students who developed academic resilience despite their poverty, the effect of social policies and tracking system on the educational equality and academic resilience in Turkey. In doing so, the differentiation between the environments of high schools with different success levels and the impact of this differentiation on the quality and quantity of the education in these schools is evaluated. Besides, to understand the determinants of the academic resilience of poor children, individual, familial and environmental features of the poor children and how they affected by poverty and by social policies are investigated.
This research has two main questions:
What are the determinants of the success of the academic resilient students in selective high schools?
What are the probable effects of the selectivity applied in the secondary transition system on the educational equality in Turkey?
Resilience paradigm (Luthar, Cicchetti and Becker, 2000) will constitute the main theoretical framework to comprehend the determinants of the academic resilience of the poor children. Besides, Bourdieu’s Social Capital Theory (Bourdieu 1986) is utilized to evaluate especially family features known as facilitating factor for the academic success of poor children.
In this study, qualitative research method (Creswell, 2007) and exploratory research design (Neuman, 2014) is utilized, and the data are collected through in depth-interviews. The participants of this study consists of socioeconomically disadvantaged students with different levels of success enrolled in various high schools of Ankara for 2015-2016 school year, their parents, and teachers and school principals working in several Ankara-based high schools with varying admission scores. As part of the study, a series of interviews were conducted with socioeconomically disadvantaged students with different levels of success. and their parents—mothers in most cases. Along with the students and their mothers, the teachers and school principals educating students with different success levels were also interviewed. In so doing, comparisons between the students with varying success levels within the same socioeconomic status and their school environments were made. The total number of participants is 113; 35 children, 39 parents, 39 teachers and school principals.A pilot study encompassing six students with different levels of success despite having similar socioeconomic backgrounds was carried out in November 2015. An array of seminal data was collected thanks to the interviews conducted with these six students and their parents. The interviews with the students and parents were conducted in their houses while the school principals and teachers were interviewed in schools. All the interviews conducted with the students and parents were recorded with a tape recorder with their consent. The data collected throughout the research were analyzed by employing descriptive analysis method, which is a qualitative data analysis method (Creswell, 2007). The data analysis was completed within 15 months.
Findings indicate that social policies alleviate the risk situation of low-income children and have positive effects on the academic resilience of these children. However, as the risk level of the children increases, the effect of social policies on the academic resilience reduces. Findings also indicate that tracking all Turkish students into different high schools based on their scores at the national high school entrance examination (TEOG) since 2014 poses new obstacles for the academic resilience of the low achieving-poor children due to some unintended consequences in the school environment. To illustrate, more qualified teachers are unevenly distributed; teachers who work at schools with children of low TEOG scores are demoralized, have low expectations from their students, and come to class with less preparations; national curriculum are unevenly implemented between schools; schools with low TEOG scores have more discipline problems and more drop-outs. There is also a negative peer effect for the students at the schools with low or moderate TEOG scores because these students do not have more successful friends in their schools; accordingly, they lack the chance of helping each other about the lessons and cooperation. Tracking of all high school students has created new barriers for students who have low or moderate TEOG scores in order for them to develop academic resiliency. The continuation of tracking of all high school students might further increase educational inequality. As the level of risk is very important for the social policies to have positive effects on the academic resilience, to reduce child poverty is of great importance. Besides, restricting tracking practice to a great extent as of 2017-2018 school year can be regarded as a positive step in the light of the findings. The implications of this study for other countries with high child poverty and educational inequality is discussed.
Alacaci, C. and Erbaş, A.K. (2010). Unpacking the inequality among Turkish schools: Findings from PISA 2006. International Journal of Educational Decvelopment, 30 (1), 57-70. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In: Richardson, J., Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education. Westport, CT: Greenwood: 241–58. Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry & reseach design: Choosing among five approach. Thousands Oaks: Sage Publications. Gümüş, S. and Chudgar, A. (2016). Factors affecting school participation in Turkey: An analysis of regional differences. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 46 (6), 929-951, DOI: 10.1080/03057925.2015.1095073 Köse, M.R. (2007). Aile sosyoekonomik ve demografik özellikleri ile okul ve özel dershanenin liselere giriş sınavına katılan öğrencilerin akademik başarıları üzerindeki etkileri. Eğitim Bilim Toplum Dergisi, 5 (17), 46-77. Luthar, S. S., Cicchetti, D., and Becker, B. (2000). The construct of resilience: A critical evaluation and guidelines for future work. Child Development, 71, 543-562. Neuman, W.L. (2014). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. 7th edition. https://cleavermonkey.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/w-lawrence-neuman-social-research-methods_-qualitative-and-quantitative-approaches-pearson-education-limited-2013.pdf Oakes, J. (2005). Keeping track: Structuring equality and inequality in an era of accountability. Teachers College Record, 110 (3), 700-712. OECD. (2011). Lessons from PISA for the United States, strong performers and successful reformers in education. OECD Publishing. OECD. (2013). PISA 2013 results in focus. What 15-year-olds know and what they can do with what they know. Paris. http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012-results-overview.pdf Oral, I. and Mcgivney, E.J. (2014). Türkiye’de eğitim sisteminde eşitlik ve akademik başarı: Araştırma raporu ve analiz. İstanbul: ERG, http://kasaum.ankara.edu.tr/files/2013/02/ERGe%C5%9FitlikWEB.22.05.14.pdf
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