Regional Economic Disparities as Determinants of Students’ Achievement in Italy
We use a statistical (multilevel) approach to study the relationship between Math Scores and individual-level and school-level factors. The sample contains data about 21,336 students sorted into 163 schools. Our results show that students attending schools in Northern Italy outperform their counterparts in the South. Moreover, the between-schools variance is much higher in Southern Italy than in Northern Italy, albeit it is not due to student sorting based on different socio-economic status (SES), as suggested by the traditional literature in this field. Finally, between-schools variance actually masks achievement differentials due to the different economic development of the Regions.
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