Inequality Seminar: Social Origins, Academic Strength of School Curriculum, and Access to Selective Higher Education Institutions: Evidence from Scotland and the US

W113 Seashore Hall
Monday, March 27th, 2017

Brian An from the University of Iowa College of Education will present "Social origins, academic strength of school curriculum and access to selective higher education institutions: Evidence from Scotland and the U.S." from 2-3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 27 in W113 Seashore as part of the Inequality Seminar. 

An's study analyzes the role that different components of the academic strength of the secondary-school curriculum (i.e. number, subjects and grades of advanced academic courses) play in explaining social-origin differences in access to prestigious universities (but also to other higher education institutions) in Scotland and the U.S. A central aim of the study is to investigate whether the mechanism behind the studied patterns of inequality differs depending on the characteristics of each educational system. Our results show pronounced social-class gaps in entering top higher education institutions in both Scotland and the U.S. Academic curriculum plays an important role in explaining these social class differences in both countries. However, while in Scotland type of subjects taken at an advanced level is the strongest mediator for the identified social class differences, in the U.S., number of advanced subjects is the strongest. Moreover, taking into account the three academic components combined entirely explains the social class differences in Scotland. Considerable inequalities which are not explained by the strength of academic curriculum remain in the US.

The poster for the event is available here

The Inequality Seminar is a seminar and speaker series that provides a forum on campus for faculty and graduate students who are interested in inequality broadly defined. It is an opportunity for faculty and graduate students to present their research and to hear about other inequality-related work from researchers on and off-campus.

The Inequality Seminar meets Mondays from 2:00-3:30 p.m. in W113 Seashore Hall. For the Spring 2017 schedule, click here.

If you are interested in hearing about future talks (which well be held each Monday throughout the semester), or if you have any questions about the Inequality Seminar, please contact Sarah Bruch at