Educational inequality in South Korea: The widening socioeconomic gap in student achievement

Soo Yong Byun, Kyung Keun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increasing income inequality particularly since the economic crisis of 1997 has called attention to the issue of growing educational inequality in South Korea. Although much recent research has been directed at understanding the socioeconomic gap in academic achievement, few studies have empirically examined how this gap has changed over time during the past decade in South Korea. Using nationally representative data for the most recent three cohorts (1999, 2003, and 2007) of eighth-grade South Korean students from Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), this study examines trends in the relationship between socioeconomic background and student achievement. The eighth-grade TIMSS data demonstrate that the influence of socioeconomic background on student achievement has increased over time during the past decade, offering evidence of growing educational inequality in South Korea. Various factors may contribute to higher educational inequality, including the widening income gap and recent educational transformations geared toward school choice and tracking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-182
Number of pages28
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Education
Volume17
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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