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MERN Abstract id=38
Source : MERN Forum #14, Session 3A
Date: 4/25/2008
Author: Randy Fransoo
Title : Socioeconomic Status and Educational Outcomes in Manitoba
Text : What is the ‘real’ social gradient in educational outcomes, once you account for differential withdrawal and retention rates across SES groups? The traditional way to examine social gradients in educational outcomes has been to measure all students using some sort of test or assessment, then order their results by socioeconomic status. The problem is, this approach provides ‘the Truth’ but not ‘the Whole Truth.’ The reasons for this difference are familiar to educators: kids from low SES areas are much more likely to have dropped out of school, or to be behind one or more grades. As a result, the true social gradient can’t be seen because it’s impossible to ‘count’ these students in the analysis. Researchers from the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) have used a ‘population-based’ approach to study educational outcomes. Instead of analyzing the results of just those who wrote a test, we identify all those who should have written the test, and track their progress and performance in school. The results reveal that the true social gradient in education is much steeper than previously shown – and the most important differences appear in withdrawal and retention, rather than test performance. This gradient, which is so strong by Grade 12, is already clearly established in Grade 3. Results from use of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) reveal the gradient is evident even before school entry. Taken together, these results emphasize the importance of the pre-school years for optimal child development, and preparing children for success in school and beyond.
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