Equity: Policy and Practice in Ticino and in Switzerland

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Equity: Policy and Practice in Ticino and in Switzerland

PISA 2006 results show that in Switzerland –, with its more than twenty school systems –, the debate cannot ,be reduced to integrative vs. selective policy: both can lead to quality and equity. Moreover, a school system can be equitable when compared to others, but show flaws within itself: in Canton Ticino –, which has an integrative school system (except for tracking in mathematics, French and German) –, the relationship between background variables and performance in mathematics is weaker than in other cantons, but there is alarge performance overlap between students assigned to courses with different levels of requirements.Furthermore, we have found that in student tracking gender, socioeconomic or migrant origin can also play a role. We cannot determine how much this is due to the ambitions of families or students, school practices, or other factors. In any case, this phenomenon should be a cause for concern –, since tracking can determine the school career –, and be investigated and acted upon. Our policy aims at equity, integration and support of disadvantaged students (special language courses for immigrants, etc.), but this is not enough. If we want to continue with tracking while at the same time pursuing equity, we should reduce the influence of background ,variables in the tracking process.

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