• State of Research Report – Definitions, Conceptual Approaches, Empirical Findings
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    An in-depth overview of the state of research on educational inequalities in European education systems is essential for identifying pioneering policies and practices aimed at mitigating educational inequalities. This report therefore maps the current state of research in all PIONEERED countries and sheds light on the main topics debated in scholarly literature within each country. The aim of this report is to take different viewpoints to comprehensively describe the many facets of research on educational inequality. It does so by evaluating the extent of educational inequality at different stages and in different national contexts by identifying social groups commonly researched as susceptible to educational inequality and by describing various causes of, and measures taken against educational inequality.

  • Methodological Guidelines: MILC Framework for Measuring Inequalities and Their Intersectionalities
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    The present document introduces a common heuristic framework that integrates Multilevel, Intersectional, and Life-Course (MILC) approaches; it discusses its implications for WP3 ("Policy analysis of measures tackling educational inequalities at different stages of the life course"), WP4 ("Comparative analysis of educational (in)equalities based on MILC approach") and WP5 ("Pioneering practices in formal and informal education: comparative practice research") and simultaneously stresses the importance of an open approach that makes it possible to go beyond this common heuristic MILC framework.

  • Policy Brief – Policy Formulations towards an Equitable Education
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    One of the foremost goals of education policy is to mitigate educational inequalities to improve individual life chances and economic opportunities as well as to contribute to social justice and sustainability. Educational inequality must be seen as a multifaceted and complex phenomenon, manifesting in various forms, emerging at different points throughout the education trajectory and driven by multiple factors. This policy brief provides an overview of key policy challenges in relation to equitable education, focusing, in particular, on policy formulation. It discusses selected policy measures at both EU and national levels and highlights several examples of pioneering national policies from project countries. Analysis shows that in many European countries notable progress has been made in improving access to education. Over time, new strategies have been adopted, often resulting in changes in the discourses surrounding educational inequality. Pioneering policy initiatives tend to take students’ diverse needs and circumstances into consideration in designing approaches to mitigate inequalities most comprehensively, while also fostering collaboration across fields and levels and between various actors.

  • Comparative Analysis Report – The Evolution of Concepts, Definitions and Prioritisation of Vulnerable Groups in Public Policy Documents
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    Equality in education remains an unaccomplished goal around the world, given that inequalities in education have not only remained substantial, but have also been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and may prospectively continue to grow. Despite the proven policy importance of this issue, there remains a rather scarce understanding of how educational inequalities and relevant target groups are defined in policy documents in different countries – a gap this comparative analysis strives to fill. Within the framework of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under grant agreement No. 101004392 (PIONEERED), researchers from project partner institutions reviewed current and past policy documents and legislation relating to educational inequalities in nine countries. These studies served as the foundation of the current comparative analysis, which demonstrates that the definition and operationalisation of educational inequality and educational disadvantage are embedded in countries’ historical, political and social environments, while also responding to exogenous changes and international trends. In other words, the analysis of educational policy documents revealed an interplay between engrained values of historical and cultural significance, and the need to adapt (and respond to) societal transformations.

  • Report on Stakeholders’ Knowledge about Current Practices Tackling/Reducing Educational Inequalities in Each Country
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    The purpose of this report is to provide a first account of stakeholders’ knowledge and experiences of current practices that aim to tackle educational inequality in each PIONEERED project country. To do so, information was gathered on understandings of inequality, problem definitions, dilemmas and existing pioneering approaches or strategies for tackling educational inequalities regarding local, regional or national contexts. The focus was on covering understandings of educational inequality – how stakeholders think educational inequalities come about, what is at the core of inequalities and how these inequalities can be reduced regarding country-specific linked ecologies (Abbott 2016: 33) – as well as practical experiences about and with pioneering practices. Here, the interest was in what types of pioneering practices stakeholder knew of, the explicit and implicit objectives of these practices (e.g., target groups/institutions, aim/s, pedagogical devices) and the extent to which they are considered to go beyond existing or taken-for-granted approaches.

  • Working Paper – Existing Programme- And Non-programme-Related Pioneering Practices Tackling/Reducing Educational Inequalities from A Comparative Perspective
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    This working paper compares stakeholders’ knowledge and experiences of current practices that aim to tackle educational inequality across PIONEERED project countries. The overall aim is to identify both context-related variations and common ground in pioneering practices targeting educational inequalities from the perspective of stakeholders. The analysis is mainly based on the “Report on stakeholders’ knowledge about current practices tackling/reducing educational inequalities in each country” (Alonso et al. 2022). This report gathered information about understandings of inequality, problem definitions, dilemmas and existing pioneering approaches or strategies for tackling educational inequalities in each PIONEERED partner country.

  • Data Harmonisation Guidelines
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    The main objective of this deliverable (D4.1) is the preparation of data harmonisation guidelines together with the accompanying coding files (written for Stata programme). These elements will assist the research teams in harmonising country-specific and international datasets and prepare them for analysis. The deliverable consists of two main parts. The first part in section 2 starts with an overview of country-specific and international data sources, identified both during the PIONEERED project preparation stage, as well as during the preparation of the deliverable with the assistance of national partners. The goal was to provide an as comprehensive as possible list of data sources that address education-related themes throughout a life course, from ECEC to post-secondary/tertiary, as well as adult education in each partner country. Additionally, some comparative surveys of adult population and households that can contribute to a better understanding of the reproduction of educational inequalities and impact on society in large are included. An overview of each data source provides brief information regarding the focus of the study or survey, its main target group (-s), as well as general access conditions.

    The second part (in section 3) of deliverable D4.1 focuses on the harmonisation of key variables across the surveys and studies that were retained for the empirical analysis. The first group of variables include those pertinent to the main axes of educational inequalities, such as socio-economic background, migration & language background, gender and home resources. The second group consists of a set of variables that measure educational outcomes either directly, such as achievement results in reading, and mathematics, but also related to education, such as extra-curricular activities, sense of belonging and educational aspiration. Each of these variables was reviewed with respect to its definition, measurement, and availability in each dataset and wave in case multiple waves of data were available. Following this step, the harmonisation solution was proposed for each variable and coding syntax was written for each variable and respective survey. The coding syntax (in Stata) is not included directly in this guideline but can be provided upon request.

    The original status of the D4.1 was set to confidential and is, therefore, shared with the project members only. This is the revised and condensed version of D4.1 which is an additional public version of the deliverable.


The PIONEERED project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004392.