Decomposing the Ethnic Achievement Gap in Colombia

Beatriz Eugenia Gallo Cordoba

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Abstractpeer-review


Achievement gaps are the results of processes at different levels of the education system. Identifying the contribution to the achievement gap of each level is crucial for research and policy efforts that result in sustainable school improvement. Nonetheless, the recent debate on how to decompose achievement gaps into its within- and between-school gaps is somewhat unresolved. This paper argues that the debate is based on the confusion between measuring the gaps at each level and estimating their contribution to the overall gap. The paper adds a level of analysis by decomposing the ethnic achievement gap of Colombia into its within-school, between-school and between- Local Authority components. Using the SABER 11 dataset, the distinction is made between the achievement gaps at each level and the contribution of each level to the overall achievement gap. Results contrast to those reported in the context of the debate in the US as within-school gaps are the smallest contributors to the overall achievement gap. In turn, differences between Local Authorities contribute the most to the overall gap, although the contribution of differences between schools in not negligible A call is made for future research and rethinking policy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Apr 2018
EventEARLI SIG 18 & 23 conference: Towards sustainable school improvement through rigorous research - Hampshire Hotel – Plaza Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 29 Aug 201831 Aug 2018


ConferenceEARLI SIG 18 & 23 conference
Internet address


  • Ethnic achievement gaps
  • achievement gap decomposition
  • Colombia


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