Equity in the Turkish education system: A multilevel analysis of social background influences on the mathematics performance of 15-year-old students

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EUROPEAN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL, cilt.15, sa.2, ss.193-217, 2016 (ESCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Yayın Türü: Makale / Tam Makale
  • Cilt numarası: 15 Konu: 2
  • Basım Tarihi: 2016
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1177/1474904115627159
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.193-217


This paper aims to discover the level of equity in the Turkish education system using maths outcomes of 15-year-old students in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam. In order to do that, associations between various social background variables and student performance are analysed via multilevel models. Female pupils, students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and students from eastern regions are all found to be disadvantaged in terms of maths outcomes. The biggest gap between students in Turkey is due to school types. The difference between selective academic schools and other types of schools is more than 100 points, which is equal to the difference between almost four grade years. However, the positive effect of attending selective academic schools is smaller for girls. Further investigations indicate that, in the Turkish education system, school type at secondary level represents the effects of socio-economic background and educational and physical resources at school in addition to previous achievements of pupils. Results of the analyses show that it is very hard to claim that the education system in Turkey is operating in a way that mitigates existing inequalities in the society. To the contrary, there are indications that the Turkish education system itself reproduces inequalities.