Gender and student achievement in Turkey : school types and regional differences based on PISA 2012 data
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Gender inequality has always been a major global issue in all fields. Unfortunately, we are living in a world that is still dealing with this persistent problem, the core of which is primarily education. According to global indexes and surveys, Turkey is almost always well below the world average in ensuring gender equality. In this sense, this study uses PISA 2012 data to explore whether the student achievement differs in Turkey between female and male students. The relationship between student achievement and several variables i.e. Teacher Student Relations, Attitude Towards School: Learning Outcomes, Attitude Towards School: Learning Activities, and Sense of Belonging to School was also examined. Two control variables were included in the analyses conducted: geographical regions and school types, in addition to the above-mentioned school related variables. The results indicate that there are no major gaps between genders; yet, school types equally affect both genders dramatically. Geographical regions only contribute to the between-schools differences; while school related variables, make no difference in Turkish students' achievement levels. The results also show that higher level of variables should be considered as evidenced by the variation between school types before focusing on teaching-level variables. In this context, Turkish educational system should shift its focus from gender as the primary issue to the immense variances between schools in order to ensure a better education that will result in higher averages.