New AERA Book Compares Global Educational Inequality
New AERA Book Compares Global Educational Inequality

For Immediate Release
May 22, 2024

Tony Pals,
(202) 238-3235

Marla Koenigsknecht,
(202) 238-3233

New AERA Book Compares Global Educational Inequality

Washington, May 22, 2024—A new book from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) compares how well city school systems around the world are preparing young people, particularly poor and minority students, with the skills, dispositions, and behaviors they need for further study, work, and life overall. Edited by Stephen Lamb (Victoria University) and Russell W. Rumberger (University of California, Santa Barbara), the book, Inequality in Key Skills of City Youth: An International Comparison, provides new research on the types and causes of educational inequality within and between 14 cities around the world.

“Students’ cognitive skills in science, math, language, civics, and other areas have long been center stage in international comparisons,” said Rumberger, a professor emeritus in education at UCSB. “However, there is growing recognition of the effects that schools have on the development of broader sets of noncognitive ‘21st-century’ capabilities such as social and emotional skills that can affect the educational achievement and labor market success of students.”

“There has been a shortage of international data available for comparing the broader array of cognitive and noncognitive skills necessary for success in today’s world,” Rumberger said. “This book aims to help address that gap.”

“The findings demonstrate the prevalence of inequality in cognitive skills across global settings, and the existence of inequality in social and emotional skills, engagement, and dispositions—all of which deeply influences progress and outcomes,” said Lamb, an emeritus professor of education at Victoria University. “The book also identifies how levels and dimensions of inequality differ globally and how school and program design features contribute to those differences.”

“The book’s insights will be of significance to scholars, policymakers, and school leaders everywhere who are facing these issues,” Lamb said.

The book’s international group of authors relied on data on 10th-grade students drawn in large part from the International Study of City Youth (ISCY), which is one of the few longitudinal studies to measure the effects of different systems of school organization, program structures, and graduation pathways on student progress and outcomes, using similarly selected samples of students.

The findings in the book focus on 14 cities: Barcelona, Spain; Bergen, Norway; Bordeaux, France; Ghent, Belgium; Hong Kong, China; Melbourne, Australia; Montréal, Canada; Reykjavík, Iceland; Sacramento, United States; San Diego, United States; Santiago, Chile; Tijuana, Mexico; Turku, Finland; and Wrocław, Poland. In addition to reporting broader results, the book features individual case studies on nine of the cities.

The book, which emanated from an AERA research conference, joins two other AERA volumes with an international focus: Comparing Ethnographies: Local Studies of Education Across the Americas and Citizenship Education and Global Migration: Implications for Theory, Research, and Teaching.


About AERA
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education, and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. Find AERA on FacebookXLinkedInInstagramThreads, and Bluesky.