This article uses the data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2000 to examine whether the influence of family background on educational achievement is sensitive to different measures of the family's socio-economic status (SES). The study finds that, when a multidimensional measure of SES is used, the family background has a stronger influence on achievement across countries than if the simpler measure of SES is used. The new measure, which incorporated aspects of parental occupation, education and cultural resources, was not biased towards more wealthy nations, Western nations, or urban population. However, when a proxy of wealth was included in the measure of SES, this reduced the other measured effects of family background on achievement in many countries.
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