The Nordic countries are known to have small differences between schools, and educational policies that promote equity. However, there are indications that in many Nordic countries, the influence of students’ socio-economic status (SES) on achievement, has increased over the last decades. To promote equity, there is need to identify factors that may reduce this strong relation.
Teacher competence (TC) is the foundation of instruction and learning, and studies from the US and Germany have shown that competent teachers may reduce the strong influence of students’ home background on achievement. However, few studies have investigated the relation between TC and equity in Nordic countries. This study investigates whether TC may mediate and/or moderate the relation between SES and achievement in these countries.
Analyses of TIMSS grade 8 data from Norway, Sweden and Finland (N = 13 345 students) were conducted using multi-group, multi-level mediation and moderation structural equation models.
Results across the three Nordic countries show that only in Norway were some aspects of TC (specialization in mathematics, and self-efficacy in mathematical pedagogical content knowledge and mathematical content knowledge) associated with higher levels of equity. In all three countries, there were indications of unequal distributions of competent teachers to high-SES schools. These findings could have implications for educational policy and are discussed in light of the context and previous research in each country.
This item's license is: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International