Measuring Educational Institutional Diversity

External Differentiation, Vocational Orientation and Standardization

In distinguishing between educational systems three main dimensions stand out: the differentiation of students in different educational programmes, the extent to which a system provides vocationally specific skills, and the extent to which an educational system is nationally standardized. However, existing conceptualizations are rather fragmented. Each study uses its own indicators, sometimes developed by authors themselves, sometimes based on indicators provided by statistical agencies. In this article we develop new indicators for a large number of countries, based on various sources of data (OECD, UNESCO, TIMSS, PISA and Eurydice). By so doing, research on the effects of educational systems becomes comparable and replicable. Furthermore, we examine the relationships between these three dimensions of educational systems and what we see as four core functions of schooling: the enhancement of equality of opportunity, the efficient sorting of students, the allocation of students to the labor market, and the preparation for active participation in society at large. We find that in countries with a strong vocational education youth unemployment is relatively low and the school to work transition takes less time. In externally differentiated educational systems the inequality of educational opportunity is on average higher. In addition we find that some aspects of standardization negatively influence average performance in education and that in countries with little external differentiation participation in voluntary organizations is higher.

Bol, T. & Van de Werfhorst, H.G. (2011). Measuring Educational Institutional Diversity: External Differentiation, Vocational Orientation and Standardization. AMCIS Working Paper 2011/1, Amsterdam.


Bron: website UvA

Afbeelding credits

Icon afbeelding: Fotograaf: Marjolijn Pokorny. School zeven zeeën. Uit fotobank Gemeente Amsterdam