Quality in Education in Argentina

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The Relation between the Concept of Quality in Education and the Socio-Economic Level of Students. A Case Study Analysis of Schools in the Greater Buenos Aires Area

It has been proven that schools located in economically underprivileged zones in the Greater Buenos Aires Area account for poorer resource levels (physical, human, social) than its pairs in privileged zones. Due to this factor, schools respond differently to the challenges that may arise, being the schools with greater levels of resources the ones more capable of offering effective responses to the challenges. This reinforces virtuous and vicious circles in relation to education quality levels. Schools in poor zones may enter in vicious circles loosing resources and quality.

Although there is a lack of consensus in the definition of quality in education, and in spite of the fact that quality in education is rarely evaluated in Argentina, some schools are undertaking quality improvement projects that achieve success both in poor and rich zones. In the present study the differences in improvement strategies in relation to socio-economic contexts are explored, and also if the socio-economic context influences the concept of ‘quality in education’ held in schools.

The research strategy followed was Exploratory Case Study Research. The cases selected were two: A school in an economically privileged zone and a school in an economically underprivileged zone, both undertaking improvement programs. By means of an exhaustive analysis it was intended to observe how the differences in socio-economic factors could relate to improvement strategies, and the relation of these factors with the underlying concept of quality in education. To serve this purpose, teachers, authorities, and quality project coordinators were interviewed.

After analyzing the collected information, it is concluded that the improvement strategies are strongly influenced by socio-economic factors in the cases studied. It is also...
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