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School Socioeconomic Segregation in Baltic Sea Countries

Andrejs Geske, Rita Kiseļova, Olga Pole
University of Latvia, Latvia

Abstract. School socioeconomic segregation has an impact on students’ academic performance and affects equity in education. This study aims to evaluate socioeconomic segregation in schools and its changes in the previous decades, using data obtained from international large-scale assessments (ILSA). In this study, data from eight European Union (EU) countries bordering the Baltic Sea (i.e. Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland and Germany) were analysed.
Data from two International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) studies, i.e. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2015 & 2019 (Grade 4), and International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) 2009 & 2016 (Grade 8), and data obtained from 7 cycles (2000 to 2018) of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) were used for the analysis.
School segregation was assessed by calculating Dissimilarity Index. In each country, students in the highest 10% of socioeconomic status (SES) of their families and in the lowest 10% of SES of their families were examined. These two groups accordingly had the highest and the lowest achievements in students’ tests in each country.
The obtained results show that the highest school segregation can be observed in Germany, Lithuania, Poland, but the lowest – in Finland and Sweden. The authors conclude that there is no significant decrease in segregation in the previous two decades, which would promote equal education opportunities. OECD PISA 2018 results show that in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland highest segregation for low SES group is in large cities, but for the high SES group – in rural areas. The causes of school segregation might be explained as – (1) high SES students reluctance to (or parents preference not to) attend small schools, (2) exclusion (e.g. through entrance exams) of low SES students from schools in large cities.

Keywords: PISA, ICCS, TIMSS, socioeconomic segregation, the Dissimilarity Index

This study was supported by European Social Fund project No. “Participation in International Education Studies”.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2023. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2023. Rakstu krājums
Riga, University of Latvia, 2023. 796 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-116-6