Response : Issues surrounding effectively maintained inequality and educational transitions

Journal article

Marks, Gary N.. (2018). Response : Issues surrounding effectively maintained inequality and educational transitions. Social Science Research. 71, pp. 6-10.
AuthorsMarks, Gary N.

In my SSR paper, I argue that Lucas's theory of Effectively Maintained Inequality (EMI) provides an inadequate account of school and post-school transitions in Australia (Marks, 2013). It is inadequate for several reasons. First, it focuses almost exclusively on socioeconomic background which has only weak effects on within school transitions and only a moderate impact on the post-school transition. Second, it ignores of the role of cognitive ability which clearly has a stronger impact than socioeconomic background for these transitions. Finally, EMI ignores other factors that are relevant to within-school educational differentiation (subject choice or curriculum placement) most notably student interests. Let's be clear what my paper is not arguing. I do not deny that that there are effects of socioeconomic background on school and post-school transitions. I demonstrate that its impact is not strong as EMI suggests.

Lucas’s (2014) response is that cognitive ability cannot be measured; test scores are not measures of cognitive ability. They are only included in his analyses to provide statistical leverage and they have no theoretical status in EMI. Although EMI is a theory about education transitions, EMI is “silent” on the relative magnitude of factors that affect these transitions.1 The effects of other factors are “irrelevant”. Finally, my evaluation of EMI was “incorrect” since there are correct and incorrect tests of EMI. I must point out that nowhere in his response does Lucas criticize the statistical procedures or measures I use; or argues that the parameter estimates are incorrect.

JournalSocial Science Research
Journal citation71, pp. 6-10
PublisherAcademic Press
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
PubMed ID29514760
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85028730478
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range6-10
Publisher's version
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online31 Aug 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Jan 2022
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