Cover: The Widening Achievement Gap Between Rich and Poor in a Nordic Country

The Widening Achievement Gap Between Rich and Poor in a Nordic Country

Published in: Educational Researcher, Volume 52, No. 4, pages 195-205 (May 2023). doi: 10.3102/0013189X221142596

Posted on rand.org Oct 16, 2023

by Astrid Marie Jorde Sandsør, Henrik Daae Zachrisson, Lynn A. Karoly, Eric Dearing

We study a decade of achievement gaps for fifth-, eighth-, and 10th-grade students in Norway using administrative population data. Norway is a wealthy and egalitarian country with a homogeneous educational system, yet achievement gaps between students at the 90th and 10th percentiles of parental income and between students whose parents have at least a master and at most a high school degree are found to be large (0.55–0.93 and 0.70–0.99 SD), equivalent to about 2 to 2.5 years of schooling, and increasing by grade level. Achievement gaps by parental income, but not by parental education, increased over the time period, underscoring the different ways these two socioeconomic status components relate to achievement and the potential for policy to alter gaps.

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