SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — The Korea Economic Research Institute held a seminar on August 23 regarding social mobility and education, where Professor Lee Joo Ho of the Korea Development Institute presented his findings on the correlation between children’s school grades and a family’s economic, social and cultural standing (ESCS).
His research was based on an analysis of results from 2000 to 2015 for the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test governed by the OECD and given to 15-year-olds that measures math, science and reading skills.
After taking parents’ wealth, jobs and completed education levels into account, Lee expressed the influence such qualities have on school grades as a number. For example, based on the test scores from 2015, the “influence factor” for S. Korean students was 42.75.
Using his method of measurement, Lee found that the impact family background had on student’s performance, at least with regards to PISA scores, had increased over time. In 2000, the number was 21.97. Two years later, it was 34.06.
Lee calculated the influence factor for the general OECD average and individual countries and found that S. Korea was the undisputed leader in this regard, surpassing some by a wide margin.
S. Korea bypassed regional neighbors Japan (38.70) and Hong Kong (13.74) as well as nations like the United States (25.98) and Finland (34.60).
Its rating was also significantly higher than the OECD average (29.66).
Lee’s research also found that the PISA scores of students belonging to the lower 20 percent socioeconomic bracket dropped from an average of 502 in 2012 to 486 in 2015.
Despite the disheartening results, Lee expressed optimism, saying that “[social mobility] is not a problem that is impossible to solve.” He stressed the importance of implementing official policies that would reduce the number of private schools and for public schools to provide greater support to students from lower income families.
Professor Kim Hee Sam of the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology also presented his research at the seminar. He explained that among males from 20 to 69 years of age, parental levels of education and their influence on children’s education was growing.
“The changes in educational success between social tiers is not only due to investment in private schools, but also due to factors such as parents’ involvement in the child’s education, child-rearing practices and the lack of exchange between different socioeconomic communities,” he said.