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Stratified failure: educational stratification and students’ attributions of their mathematics performance in 24 countries

Mijs, Jonathan J.B (2016) Stratified failure: educational stratification and students’ attributions of their mathematics performance in 24 countries. Sociology of Education, 89 (2). pp. 137-153. ISSN 1939-8573

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0038040716636434

Abstract

Country rankings based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) invite politicians and specialists to speculate about the reasons their countries did well or failed to do well. Rarely, however, do we hear from the students on whose performance these rankings are based. This omission is unfortunate for two reasons. First, research suggests that how students explain their academic performance has important consequences for their future achievements. Second, prior studies show that students’ attributions of success and failure in education can develop into explanations for social inequalities in adulthood. This article draws on PISA 2012 data on 128,110 secondary school students in 24 countries to explore how educational stratification shapes students’ explanations of their academic performance. I find that students in mixed-ability groups tend to attribute their mathematics performance to their teachers and to (bad) luck, whereas vocational- and academic-track students are more likely to blame themselves for not doing well. These differences between mixed-ability group students and tracked students are more pronounced in school systems where tracking is more extensive. I conclude by discussing how these findings speak to the broader impact of educational stratification on students’ psychology and cognition and the legitimation of inequalities.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/soe
Additional Information: © 2016 American Sociological Association
Divisions: International Inequalities Institute
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Sets: Research centres and groups > International Inequalities Institute
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2017 09:29
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 02:15
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/84381

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