Equty in education: a general overview

Castelli, Luciana and Ragazzi, Serena and Crescentini, Alberto (2012) Equty in education: a general overview. In: Book of abstract 3rd International Conference on Education & Educational Psychology, 10-13 October 2012, Istanbul.

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Problem Statement: Equity is an important issue for institutions involved in school and education. From a theoretical point of view, equity is a multi-dimensional concept, and its definition isn’t without ambiguity: different theoretical orientation persist, hence equity might have different meanings, which imply different effects on political orientations and praxis concerning school system. For those who are interested in monitoring equity as a basic indicator for the study of school systems, crucial issues come out: how to find a shared definition of the concept of equity, and how to translate it into dimensions and variables which might offer an inclusive overview of the issue? Purpose of Study: The purpose of the present study is to provide a general overview on the issue of equity, in order to describe its representation in the scientific international literature. The aim is to get to a historical-chronological description of equity in theory, policies and practices. Research Methods: In order to reach the purpose of the study, a systematic review of the scientific literature has been conducted. Moreover, an analysis of official institutional documentation has been done. Findings: The analysis has showed how equity is fully considered within international debate, for instance in OECD publications. Equity includes selectivity, inclusion and educational divide. From a theoretical point of view, different conception can be detected, namely: a) equity as inclusion, both as a contrast to scholastic abandonment and as the reaching of minimum learning standards for everyone; b) equity as meritocracy, that is the principle of enhancement of individual talents and excellence. Conclusions: Equity in school is an actual issue for local governments and international institutions. It seems to be necessary to carry on the debate in order to focus on coherent and shared policies, practices and remarks in scholastic systems.

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