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Working paper

Socio-Economic Factors for Reading Performance in PIRLS: Income Inequality and Segregation by Achievements

Petrova T., Alexandrov D. A.
This study examines the relationship between family and school characteristics, and student reading performance; and how these vary across countries with different levels of economic inequality and stratification. Economic inequality is measured with the Gini index and stratification by the distribution of students by reading achievements. Reading tests and questionnaire responses of 190,456 fourth-graders, their parents and 6,987 school administrators in 41 countries were analysed using multilevel analyses. Students with lack of early home literacy activities have better test scores in schools with higher average socioeconomic status (SES), and reading scores in countries with a high level of economic inequality. The higher the stratification level, the better student reading achievements, despite the stratification measure indicating the inequality of their distribution among schools.