The face of education : the quest for educational quality and equity through international large-scale assessments
In today’s educational landscape, the concepts of quality and equity have emerged as central figures in the global discourse on education. They are akin to education’s very essence, or its face in a metaphorical sense. To grasp this essence, researchers have turned their gaze to international large-scale assessments (ILSAs), treasure troves of insights into diverse educational systems worldwide. These assessments enable researchers to unveil their system’s educational face, set side by side with others, sparking extensive research efforts that inform educational reforms in pursuit of progress. Within this dissertation, we address the possibilities and uncertainties surrounding this portrayal of education’s face, one that embodies quality and equity, using ILSA data. The reasons for this are grounded in an often implicit reliance on a common-sense view of what quality and equity should entail. The research journey unfolds in five interconnected studies, each contributing to a deeper understanding of these concepts within the ILSA context. Our endeavor commences by unravelling the complexities surrounding quality and equity in secondary analyses of ILSA data, casting light on their diverse interpretations and operationalizations. This research objective guided the paths of Studies 1 and 2. These systematic reviews unearth the linguistic interpretations and measurement traditions of quality (Study 1) and equity (Study 2). They reveal the shortcomings of conventional approaches, which tend to oversimplify these multifaceted notions by reducing them to single-value metrics, mainly revolving around academic achievement. This reductionist perspective fails to capture the richness inherent in both quality and equity. Moving beyond this initial exploration, Studies 3 and 4 embark on an expedition into potential avenues for investigating the multidimensional nature of these concepts. Employing cluster analyses to examine quality (Study 3) and equity (Study 4) configurations, these studies unveil the potential of ILSA data to investigate these concepts with a level of nuance that was previously often lacking. In our final chapter, Study 5, we unify the threads of the preceding studies, transcending the conventional quality-versus-equity dichotomy and uncovering the concealed relationships among various dimensions within these concepts. In summation, this dissertation embarks on a journey through the landscapes of educational quality and equity, revealing their multifaceted nature. It underscores the symbiotic relationship between quality and equity, and emphasizes the need for nuanced approaches. In essence, the dissertation aspires to provide a vivid portrait of education—a face that invites scrutiny, inquiry, and learning. It serves as a foundational step, guiding future research, policy development, and educational practices in the ever-evolving domain of education.
Antwerpen : University of Antwerp, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Training and Education Sciences , 2024
250 p.
Supervisor: Van Petegem, Peter [Supervisor]
Supervisor: De Maeyer, Sven [Supervisor]
Full text (open access)
The publisher created published version Available from 23.02.2025
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Creation 10.01.2024
Last edited 23.02.2024
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