Vrouw achter computer
Vrouw achter computer

ICT-competency and inequality in student performance

What roles do family-, school- and country-level factors play?
2 September 2019 until 1 March 2024
Project type

Previous research shows persistent educational inequalities according to an individual's family background and gender. Similar inequalities are found in ICT-competency, where digital skills is highly differentiated by family background and gender. This project brings both inequalities together by investigating social inequality in students’ educational performance and connecting it to aspects of information and communication technology (ICT).

This project features two lines of investigation. Firstly, we examine how family background and gender differences in educational outcomes can be explained by students' own ICT-competency. Secondly, it may be expected that qualities of a students’ family, school and country ICT-context are relevant in explaining educational outcome disparities between children from different social backgrounds and differences between girls and boys. As such, we also explore, how gender and family background differences in educational outcomes are related to ICT-familiarity at the micro (family), meso (school/teacher) and macro (country) level.

To answer these questions, we employ quantitative data from high quality, large scale, international data from PISA, NEPS, ICILS and EU Kids Online.

This project is an interdisciplinary one, drawing on social stratification, gender, media and communications, and educational scholarship. This project and the insights gleaned from it add to our understanding of how social and digital inequalities relate. It therefore also adds towards efforts to address such inequalities in a world that will only be more and more digitalized.


  • Loh, R. S. M., Kraaykamp, G., & van Hek, M. (2023). Student ICT resources and intergenerational transmission of educational inequality: Testing implications of a reproduction and mobility perspective. European Sociological Review, jcad008. https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcad008
  • Loh, R. S. M., Kraaykamp, G., & Van Hek, M. (2023). Do students’ ICT skills pay off in math performance? Examining the moderating role of countries’ ICT promotive environment. European Educational Research Journal, 14749041231201197. https://doi.org/10.1177/14749041231201197

Video abstract, viewable on: https://www.renaeloh.com/


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