Measuring educational inequality of opportunity: pupil’s effort matters

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This research uses a specially-designed survey in secondary schools in rural Bangladesh to look at the role of student effort in educational achievements and as a factor in overcoming disadvantage and inequality.

The researchers looked at the test results of Bangladeshi schoolchildren in mathematics and English and evaluated the importance of effort relative to their circumstances in how they did.

They showed that pupils’ effort, preferences, and talents accounted for around a third of the total predicted differences in performance scores.

The researchers say their findings show that social determinism in education can be mitigated by individual effort at school and that distinguishing between effort and other factors, such as family background, could be important for policymakers seeking to promote equal opportunities for schoolchildren.