Submitted November 2011.
The Socio-Economic Gradient in Teenagers' Reading Skills: How Does England Compare with Other Countries?*
Article first published online: 15 JUN 2012
© 2012 The Author Fiscal Studies © 2012 Institute for Fiscal Studies
Special Issue: Special Issue on The Role of Education and Skills in Driving Social Mobility
Volume 33, Issue 2, pages 159–184, June 2012
How to Cite
Jerrim, J. (2012), The Socio-Economic Gradient in Teenagers' Reading Skills: How Does England Compare with Other Countries?. Fiscal Studies, 33: 159–184. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-5890.2012.00157.x
The author would like to thank participants at the Institute of Education seminar series for the helpful comments received, along with the feedback from Claire Crawford, John Micklewright, Anna Vignoles and an anonymous referee on previous drafts. He would also like to thank Lee Elliot Major and the Sutton Trust for their support in the production of this paper.
- Issue published online: 15 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 15 JUN 2012
- educational inequality;
- social mobility
A number of studies have explored the link between family background and children's achievement in a cross-national context. A common finding is that there is a stronger association in England than in other parts of the developed world. Rather less attention has been paid, however, to England's comparative position at different points of the achievement distribution. Is the test score gap particularly big between the most able children from advantaged and disadvantaged homes, or are differences particularly pronounced between low achievers? This issue is investigated using the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009 data set. The association between family background and high achievement is found to be stronger in England than in most other developed countries, and there is little evidence that this has changed over time. However, socio-economic differences at the bottom of the achievement distribution are no more pronounced in England than elsewhere. I discuss the implications of these findings for social mobility and educational policy in the UK.