Quality, Equality and Equity in Colombian Education (Analysis of the SABER 2009 Test)

Apr 2012
This Technical Note describes the learning inequalities faced by Colombian students and analyzes the equity in the allocation of resources among schools and their relation to learning. Using the SABER 2009database, the analysis demonstrates that there are high inequalities in students' academic results associated with their families' socioeconomic status, the type of school management, and the school's geographic zone. This relation is more important between schools than within a school, denoting a high degree of segregation of Colombian schools according to students' socioeconomic status. In terms of key school resources, there is a high inequity in their distribution with a clear disadvantage against schools
with mostly poor students, as well as rural and public urban schools. This inequitable allocation of resources is associated with a greater risk of students achieving unsatisfactory SABER test results. The results of the multilevel model estimations, where the interaction between school factors and test results are jointly analyzed, indicate that better physical conditions, adequate connection to public services, a complete school day, the presence of rules in the classroom, minimal violence in schools, and greater
teacher satisfaction are significantly related with higher probabilities of students achieving adequate test results. Improving these school factors, mainly among schools with poor students, has a great potential
for increasing quality and equity of learning in Colombia.