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Identifying the key source of deteriorating educational equity in Sweden between 1998 and 2014

Journal article
Authors Kajsa Yang Hansen
Jan-Eric Gustafsson
Published in International Journal of Educational Research
Volume 93
Pages 79-90
ISSN 0883-0355
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Pages 79-90
Language en
Keywords Educational equity, Socioeconomic status, Educational reform, School choice, Three-level analysis
Subject categories Pedagogy


Educational equity has deteriorated in Sweden from the late 1980s onwards. However, it is not clear what the main sources behind this trend are. The present study aims therefore to investigate the development of educational equity at different levels of the Swedish educational system in order to identify possible sources of the change. Students’ school grades and family educational background for the cohorts leaving compulsory school between 1998 and 2014 were analysed in three-level hierarchical models. Increased segregation with respect to student composition and academic outcomes across different schools was found to be the main source of the declining educational equity. The findings are discussed in the light of differentiated learning opportunities, as a result of recent school reforms in Sweden.

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