Equity and quality in education: Supporting disadvantaged students and schools
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 2012.
Numerous international studies have shown that the most successful school systems are also the most equitable. This report focuses on the importance of education that is both inclusive and equitable as a strategy for growth. For this to occur, all students must have access to quality education early in their life and most be supported to stay in the system at least until high school graduation – across the OECD, between 10 and 30 percent of students do not finish high school.
To achieve this goal, the OECD recommends a triple focus. First, school systems must eliminate systemwide practices that hinder equity; second, systems must target low-performing disadvantaged schools for support; and third, governments must ensure an alignment between what happens in schools and other government policies (for example, health or welfare) to ensure student success.
The OECD recommends that all systems eliminate five systemic barriers:
- Eliminate grade repetition – ensure students get the support they need to progress;
- Avoid early tracking and defer student selection to upper secondary;
- Manage school choice to avoid segregation and increased inequities;
- Make funding strategies responsive to students’ and schools’ needs – approaches include guaranteeing access to early childhood education and care opportunities and weighted funding formulae; and
- Design equivalent upper secondary pathways to ensure high school completion, including improving the quality of vocational education, allowing transitions between academic and vocational programs, and targeted anti-drop-out policies.
And they recommended particular supports for schools serving disadvantaged students, including strengthening and supporting school leadership, a strong focus on a supportive school climate and culture, attracting, supporting and retaining high quality teachers and ensuring effective classroom strategies. They mentioned in particular the importance of strong links between parents, communities and schools.