09 SES 06 B, Findings from International Comparative Achievement Studies: Issues in Equity and Inequality
Parallel Paper Session
Since seminal works by Bourdieu (1986) and Coleman (1988) on the conception of social capital, a large number of educational studies have been conducted to test the effects of social capital. However, most of these studies were conducted by the US-based researchers and based on the US data. This may compromise the generality of social capital theory, because social capital is largely culturally dependent (Ream, 2003). Moreover, the previous studies mainly focused on the family-based social capital. As a result, school-based social capital is understudied. In this study, we make use of PISA 2009 data of 14 countries, to do a cross-country comparative study on the effects of both family-based and school-based social capital through country-specific hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) (Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002) to test cross-country differences in the effects of both family-based and school-based social capital.
Since the pioneering works by Bourdieu (1986) and Coleman (1988), several researchers have made significant contributions to enrich the theory of social capital from different perspectives (Putnam, 1995; Portes, 1998; Burt, 1995; Lin, 1999). Despite their differences, there are least three points in common in their conceptions of social capital: (1) social capital is embedded in social networking; (2) social capital is a product of mobilized resources; (3) social capital facilitates certain purposive actions. With respect to education, all of them agree that social capital is of great importance to the formation of human capital.
Social capital is a multiple-facet concept. Portes (1998) defines social capital as sources of social control, family-mediated benefits, and resources mediated by nonfamily networks. Coleman (1988) stresses the importance of norms and social control. Smith and colleagues (1995) elaborate Coleman’s notion of socical capital and identify two dimensions of social capital: structural social capital and process social captial. Furthermore, the effects of one’s human capital and economic capital are expected to be amplified by social capital, as the effect of social multiplier (Glaeser, Sacerdote, & Scheinkman, 2002). From ecological perspective(Bronfenbrenner, 1989), both family-based and school-based social capital are multidimensional concepts where both families and schools are inter-connected social institutions and influence children on two levels: micro-level (individuals) and meso-level (aggregate) (Haghighat, 2005).
Since late 1980s, a wide array of studies has been done to test the effects of social capital upon students’ school outcomes. Dika and Singh (2002) did an extensive review on the methodology and findings of these studies. The indicators of social capital in these studies include family structure (i.e., intact or non-traditional), parent-child discussion, parents’ involvement, parents’ expectation, etc. Most of them confirmed the positive relationship between the amount of family-based social capital and school outcomes.
We use PISA 2009 data to test the well-studied dimensions of social capital guided by the following research questions.
1) Does family- and school-based social capital affect student reading achievement?
2) Do the effects of different aspects of social capital vary from country to country?
 the Program for International Student Assessment
References 1. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1989). Ecological systems theory. Annals of child development Six theories of child development Revised formulations and current issues, 6, 187-249. 2. Burt, R. S. (1995). Structural holes: The social structure of competition. Harvard Univ Pr. 3. Glaeser, E. L., Sacerdote, B. I., & Scheinkman, J. A. (2002). The social multiplier National Bureau of Economic Research. 4. Haghighat, E. (2005). School Social Capital and Student's Academic Performance. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 15, 213-236. 5. Lin, N. (1999). Building a network theory of social capital. Connections, 22, 28-51. 6. Portes, A. (1998). Social capital: its origins and applications in modern sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 1-24. 7. Putnam, R. D. (1995). Bowling alone: America's declining social capital. Journal of democracy, 6, 65. 8. Raudenbush, S. W. & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. (1 ed.) Sage Publications, Inc. 9. Ream, R. K. (2003). Counterfeit social capital and Mexican-American underachievement. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 25, 237-262.
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