Fötter som trampar på travar av böcker
Photo: Yuri Arcurs

New Research Project Explores Educational Equality

The EU-funded project "MapIE - Mapping of Longitudinal Data of Inequalities in Education" aims to increase the understanding of how inequality arises in and is affected by different education systems.

"Experimental studies are often not possible to carry out in schools, but what you can achieve with longitudinal studies is something similar. That is, you can see the outcome of a certain educational reform and possibly also draw conclusions about cause and effect," says Monica Rosén, professor at the Department of Education and Special Education and local project manager for the MapIE project at the University of Gothenburg. 

The project, which started on 1 March 2024 and will run for four years, aims, among other things, to identify effective measures to reduce education-related gaps. There can be several reasons why students perform differently in school at the individual level. However, through large-scale, longitudinal studies, it is possible to uncover the gaps that arise due to a particular system or reform.

"We will look at differences in results and opportunities linked to, for example, gender or socioeconomic factors. But there are also differences between schools in urban and rural areas or within the same municipality," says Victoria Rolfe, a researcher in the project. 

Longitudinal data is made available

The MapIE project is carried out by a consortium of six higher education institutions in Finland, Norway, Hungary, Germany, and Sweden, together with the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre. Each party contributes expertise and data. An important outcome of the project will be a mapping of education-related longitudinal datasets and a framework for using these in research.

"Together, we will create a searchable archive for our databases. When it's done, you will be able to easily find out what data is available and where it is located," says Victoria Rolfe.

At the University of Gothenburg, for example, there are the databases GOLD and UGU – the latter with questionnaire responses from 11 Swedish cohorts over sixty years. By tagging all data sets similarly, the MapIE-project will make it easier to get an overview of what can be examined. Monica Rosén also emphasizes the benefits of future studies following the same framework:

"One of the MapIE project's most important contributions is that we will try to create a framework for longitudinal data studies. This will lead to more comparable studies, which is important for increasing knowledge about education reforms and their effects," she says.  

Text: Kristina Modigh




The project "MapIE - Mapping of Longitudinal data of Inequalities in Education" runs from 2024 to 2028, with funding from Horizon Europe, the European Union's framework programme for research and innovation. 

The project is coordinated by Tampere University in Finland. In addition, the University of Gothenburg, the University of Helsinki, the University of Oslo, the Goethe University of Frankfurt, the University of Szeged, and the Finnish National Centre for Education Evaluation are part of the collaboration.