Equations and Inequalities: Making Mathematics Accessible to All

This report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is based on results from the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a triennial international survey designed to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. This report focuses on factors influencing student literacy in mathematics, profiling data from participating OECD countries. The authors purport that widening access to mathematics content can raise average levels of achievement while also reducing inequalities in education and in society at large.

Content Comments 

In reflecting on the topic of closing socio-economic achievement gaps, this report profiles data from OECD countries and includes numerous charts or “snapshots” focused on topics related to both opportunities to learn and achievement in mathematics. The report is quite lengthy in its presentation but could prove insightful for those addressing the challenge of improving achievement for low-income students. The report suggests that “education systems can weaken the link between socio-economic status and opportunity to learn by becoming more flexible (granting real opportunities to change tracks and courses) and more objective (making track and course placement more dependent on achievement and students’ interests rather than on parents’ preferences and background)."