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Curriculum Standardization and Equality of Opportunity in Scottish Secondary Education: 1984-90

Adam Gamoran
Sociology of Education
Vol. 69, No. 1 (Jan., 1996), pp. 1-21
DOI: 10.2307/2112720
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112720
Page Count: 21
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Curriculum Standardization and Equality of Opportunity in Scottish Secondary Education: 1984-90
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Abstract

Curriculum differentiation plays an important role in maintaining the connection between socioeconomic origins and educational attainment. A reform in Scotland dramatically reduced the degree of curriculum differentiation in the third and fourth years of secondary school. This article examines the impact of the reform on students' scores on examinations at age 16, a key point in their educational careers, based on data from four biennial national surveys of Scottish students and schools from 1984 to 1990. The analyses rely on multilevel methods in which the effects of socioeconomic status vary within schools and over time and are affected by the implementation of the reform, which varies between schools and over time. Effects within and between schools are estimated simultaneously, and student-level outcomes are estimated in both linear and logistic forms. The results indicate a marked rise in English and mathematics attainment and in exposure to science courses, which is attributable, in part, to the curricular reform. There is also clear evidence of a decline in socioeconomic inequality within schools, which was probably due, in part, to the curricular reform.

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