The relationship between national development and the effect of school and student characteristics on educational achievement. A crosscountry exploration.

The relationship between national development and the effect of school and student characteristics on educational achievement. A crosscountry exploration.

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The relationship between national development and the effect of school and student characteristics on educational achievement. A crosscountry exploration.

Since the publication of two controversial studies in the 80’,s, in which Heyneman and Loxley suggested that the level of economic development of a country had an effect on the degree to which school and student factors influence educational achievement, numerous works have further investigated the so-called Heyneman-Loxley (HL) effect. Roughly, these works can be organized into two streams, one that defends the prevalence of the HL effect in the current macro-socioeconomic context and a second one that denies it. The debate is far from over and no overwhelming evidence has been provided from any research stream. By carrying out Multi-level regression analysis this paper assess the effects of country development and inequality on learning in reading, using data from PIRLS 2006. The results suggest the existence of an ameliorating effect of higher levels of country development on learning through two different ways: 1) directly, on the mean results of countries, 2) indirectly, by reducing the inequality associated to schools’, socioeconomic status, the rural sector, and school’,s resources. The findings also confirm the dominance of socioeconomic variables over organizational or institutional ones in explaining student achievement differences, at least at the aggregate level of analysis. These results add to the production of knowledge for the design of context-specific policies by increasing our understanding on how broader socioeconomicand political constraints on schools affect their performance.

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