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One indicator to rule them all: How SDG 4.1.1 dominates the conversation and what it means for the most marginalized

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    Rights statement: This is the accepted version of the following chapter: One indicator to rule them all: How SDG 4.1.1 dominates the conversation and what it means for the most marginalized, Smith, W., 10 Sep 2019, Annual Review of Comparative and International Education. Emerald Publishing, p. 27-34, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-367920190000037002.

    Accepted author manuscript, 169 KB, PDF document

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Comparative and International Education 2018
EditorsAlexander Wiseman
PublisherEmerald Publishing
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781838674151
ISBN (Print)9781838674168
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2019

Publication series

NameInternational Perspectives on Education and Society
ISSN (Print)1479-3679


Three years into sustainable development goals (SDGs), it is clear that the broad aims of the SDGs remain a work in progress. The ambitious project, with its vision to inspire a wide range of educational goals and ensure that all children attain quality education, is often narrowed down to student achievement in mathematics and reading. To some, this is not surprising; among many in the comparative and international education community, critics were concerned that SDG 4.1 would dominate the agenda. The prioritization of achievement and the movement away from the earlier focus on access makes one wonder if some children will be forgotten. This chapter details how the SDGs have been narrowed and how that impacts the most marginalized. Although choices prioritizing time and resources to some targets over others are pragmatic in nature, that does not mean they are without tradeoffs. In a world where education has become the major stratifier and growth in education has been concentrated in the middle and upper classes, those remaining out of school are at a greater disadvantage. The second half of this chapter will review empirical work that describes the disadvantaged characteristics of the increasingly entrenched, less educated class; greater health risks; decreased access to knowledge and technology; and increased fear of the cultural other. Research plays an important role in ensuring the wide-ranging goals of the SDGs are not forgotten by highlighting this more marginalized group and maintaining a focus on the broader social and personal goals of education.

    Research areas

  • SDGs, marginalized, student achievement, equity, stratification, assessment

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