No More Failures

Ten Steps to Equity in Education

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No More Failures challenges the assumption that there will always be failures and dropouts, those who can’t or won’t make it in school. In fact, initiatives in many countries demonstrate that it is possible to successfully tackle school failure and dropout rates – and to reduce the huge social cost of adults without basic skills. This book offers a valuable comparative perspective on how different countries have handled equity in education. Among the issues it explores are tracking, streaming and academic selection;  school choice; secondary education structures and second chance programmes; grade repetition; links between school and home; early childhood education; resource allocation; targets for equity; and the special needs of migrants and minorities. The book identifies three key areas for delivering equity in education (the design of education systems, classroom practices and resourcing) and proposes ten concrete policy measures, backed by evidence, on how to reduce school failure and dropout rates.

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Structures and Pathways

This chapter looks at the design of education systems – how they are put together and the routes through them – to analyse their impact on equity. It examines selection and choice in basic education, the different pathways in secondary and post-secondary education and explores evidence on how conducive these features may be to equity. Wherever these processes direct students to separate pathways (a process known as differentiation) and students in the separated pathways have different experiences, initial inequalities may be lessened or increased. The chapter argues that selection and choice create risks for equity which have to be managed, for example by using random lotteries rather than academic selection to choose successful applicants for schools in high demand. In addition, attractive secondary education structures and pathways without dead ends contribute to equity, as do effective systems of second chance education for those who did not finish when young.

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