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Education Systems and InequalitiesInternational Comparisons$
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Andreas Hadjar and Christiane Gross

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781447326106

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447326106.001.0001

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Theorising the impact of education systems on inequalities

Theorising the impact of education systems on inequalities

(p.11) One Theorising the impact of education systems on inequalities
Education Systems and Inequalities

Christiane Gross

Heinz-Dieter Meyer

Andreas Hadjar

Policy Press

The main objective of this chapter is to theorise how education systems shape inequalities. In the first part of the chapter, we outline an institutionalist theoretical approach and offer an illustrative case comparison regarding the institutionalisation of educational inequalities in Germany and the United States. Although the principle of equal educational opportunity seems almost universally accepted, nations often face seemingly intractable obstacles towards its realisation. In the second part, we adopt a multi-level perspective to better explain the effect of education systems on educational inequalities. Integrating causal influences at the macro-, meso-, and micro-level, we describe how characteristics of education systems at the macro-level and school characteristics at the meso-level influence the relevance of individual attributes (of students, their parents, and teachers) to the educational attainment of students. In a second step, we deal with explanations of educational inequalities at the individual level.

Keywords:   education systems, educational inequalities, stratification, standardisation, vocational specificity

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