Opportunity to learn is not the same for students having different socio-economic background.Paper published by AERA (American Educational Research Association).

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Opportunity to Learn and Socioeconomic status

In this paper, student-level indicators of opportunity to learn (OTL) included in the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment are used to explore the joint relationship of OTL and socioeconomic status (SES) to student mathematics literacy. Using multiple methods, we find consistent evidence that (a) OTL has a significant relationship to student outcomes, (b) a positive relationship exists between SES and OTL, and (c) roughly a third of the SES relationship to literacy is due to its association with OTL. These relationships hold across most countries and both within and between schools within countries. Our findings suggest that in most countries, the organization and policies defining content exposure may exacerbate educational inequalities.

 The paper has been published in EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER, vol. 44, no. 7, 371-386 the main journal of AERA. It is copyright protected.


  1. William H. Schmidt1
  2. Nathan A. Burroughs1
  3. Pablo Zoido2
  4. Richard T. Houang1
  1. 1Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
  2. 2Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris, France
  6. A short version of this paper has been published in the OECD education blog September 30,2015 (See here) and a long paper by the same authors has been already published by OECD in December 2013 as a working paper ( WP No.95, see here an Italian presentation including the original paper in English).
  8. The first author, Schmidt, has led the US team who piloted US involvement in the first TIMSS survey in 1994-95 and was a director of a main international study on math manuals in schools done simultaneously within IAE-TIMSS study;
  10. In this article Schmidt and co-authors explore again the opportunity too learn concept [1] a very old analytical topic of international comparative studies assessing students results. The team discovered a relationship between OTL and SES [2] and therefore a factor exacerbating education inequalities within school systems.


[1] Anagram OTL

[2] Socio-economic status