This cogent analysis of data on education and society from a variety of sources sets out to provide answers to scientific and policy questions on the quality of education and the way it relates to various forms of inequality in modern societies, particularly in Europe. The authors examine not only the well known cross-national PISA datasets, but also the European Social Survey and TIMSS, going further than many researchers by folding into their analyses economic, legal and historical factors. Most research up to now using the PISA data is restricted to educational research. Interesting as that educational question is, the chapters here use the PISA, and other data, to explore more profoundly the relationship between education and the various forms of inequality in European and other modern societies. The work comes from two different perspectives: one that looks at how the different characteristics of societies, their economies, and their educational systems influence the average educational achievements of specific groups of pupils, such as immigrants, in those societies; and a second, which explores how, and in what degree, the characteristics of schools, educational systems and labour-markets either hardens or softens differences in the educational outcomes of various groups of pupils. With a special feature of the book being its emphasis on comparing Asian and European countries, and with the content free of the political constraints that can often attend studies of these datasets, this book will be an vital resource for educationalists and policy-makers alike.

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