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date: 19 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In the European context, Spain is a late modernizer, which experienced a delayed educational expansion. However, after 1970, and especially after the restoration of democracy in 1978, the Spanish education system completed its expansion and modernized significantly, converging with its neighbours on most outcomes related to the quality of education. Notwithstanding remarkable levels of stability of institutional design and framework policies, it is widely believed that education in Spain is subject to constant political reforms. This is partly explained by the frequent use of education in political and electoral debates, and, particularly, by the overrepresentation in public debates of a limited repertoire of normative and organizational aspects of educational policies. While the current education system in Spain has achieved a high level of quality combined with low levels of educational inequality by social background when compared with other developed countries, there are secular problems that need to be addressed, particularly the reform of teacher selection, training programmes, and careers; modernization of school curricula; adaptation of pedagogical innovations; rationalization of retakes; and diversification of tracks to offer less successful students an alternative and prevent early dropout. This chapter describes this transformation and problematizes key educational reforms in Spain, focusing on the democratic period, using different international datasets including PISA (OECD, several years), PIACC (OECD 2016), TIMSS, and PIRLS (IEA, several years), the European Social Survey as well as several national sources of data including the Spanish General Social Survey (CIS 2013) and the Labour Force Survey (several years).

Keywords: educational expansion, educational inequality, educational reform, educational policies.

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