Scottish Longitudinal Study
Development & Support Unit
Social Inequalities in Educational Attainment: An Investigation into the Mediating Role of School Absenteeism
Dr Markus Klein (University of Strathclyde)
Dr Edward Sosu (University of Strathclyde)
1st July 2018
The proposed study aims to investigate whether differences in school attendance can explain social inequalities in educational attainment and post-school destinations among pupils in Scotland. Due to differences in health-related behaviour, residential and school mobility, family structure, environment, and parental employment characteristics, children from lower socio-economic backgrounds may be more frequently absent from school than children from higher socio-economic backgrounds. In turn, missing out on important parts of the curriculum due to lower attendance, may result in lower performance in school exams and may decrease the likelihood of continuing school after compulsory schooling and opting for higher education. In addition we will investigate whether school absenteeism is more detrimental to pupils from lower socio-economic backgrounds than to pupils from higher socio-economic backgrounds as their parents lack the resources to compensate for missing out on school lessons. Our specific aims are as follows:
1) To contribute to the understanding of the mediating role of school absenteeism in social inequalities in educational attainment and post-school destinations in Scotland;
2) To evaluate a combination of theoretically informed hypotheses and exploratory analyses on the mechanism of school absenteeism on social inequalities in educational attainment and post-school destinations, and whether the effect of school absenteeism on these outcomes is moderated by family background;
3) To advance the use of more sophisticated statistical techniques within the field of education (e.g. causal mediation analysis, inverse probability weighting);
4) To contribute to policy recommendations on the interplay between family background, school absenteeism, educational attainment and post-school destinations.
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