Statistics show most school achievers have parents with HE

Both academic performance and motivation vary with social background, but the family’s resources are the most important determinant. No matter how many resources the politicians put into the Norwegian school system, the differences remain. Pupils with highly educated parents still do significantly better at school and are far more likely to complete upper secondary education, writes Anne Lise Stranden for

Last year, Norwegian teachers awarded 5,050 secondary school pupils a grade 6 in maths – the top grade in the Norwegian system. “Close to 4,300 top grades went to pupils with parents with higher education,” sociologist Anders Bakken at Oslo Metropolitan University and NOVA (Norwegian Social Research) said during a debate at Arendalsuka, an annual political festival in Norway. This corresponds to approximately 85%.

It has been several decades since a Norwegian investigation by professor of sociology Gudmund Hernes revealed the gap between social background and academic performance. Since then, politicians have tried to get the schools to balance the differences. But despite the efforts, social differences in society are reproduced at school. “The resources that the schools implement have less of an impact than the parents’ background,” Bakken stated.
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