This paper demonstrates that the emphasis on students’ socioeconomic status (SES) in research and policy circles in Australia is unwarranted. The bivariate relationships between SES and educational outcomes are only moderate and the effects of SES are quite small when taking into account cognitive ability or prior achievement. These two influences have much stronger relationships with students’ outcomes than SES and their effects cannot be attributed to the influence of SES at earlier points of time. The theoretical explanations for socioeconomic inequalities in education (e.g. schools and cultural factors) are problematic and are not supported by empirical work. The much weaker than assumed effects of SES has implications for research and policy.
SOURCE: Marks, G.N., “Is SES really that important for educational outcomes in Australia? A review and some recent evidence”, The Australian Educational Researcher, First Online 10 December 2016
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