IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


VIRTUAL EVENT: How ability stratification predicts the size of the big-fish-little-pond effect

30 September 2021, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

Clownfish near coral reef. Image: Tom Fisk via Pexels

In this webinar, Professor Phil Parker will speak on his recently published research on how ability stratification — the degree to which children of similar levels of ability are schooled together — influences on a child’s academic self-concept.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Khrystyna Myhasiuk

Understanding how children’s broader context influences their development is critical if we are to develop policies that help them flourish. Combining sociological, economic, and psychological literature, this research shows that the ability stratification influences a child’s academic self-concept. 

This is because countries with more ability stratification should have larger big-fish-little-pondbig-fish-little-pond effects (the negative effect of school average achievement on academic self-concept). 

Researchers used four cycles of the Trends in International Math and Science Study to test the hypothesis that more country-level ability stratification is associated with larger country-level big-fish-little-pond effects for math self-concept. Findings strongly support this hypothesis and have implications for school system design and policy.

This event will be particularly useful for those interested in education policy, equal opportunities and schooling.

CEPEO seminar series

The Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO) hosts a research seminar series where guest speakers present cutting edge research.

Join policymakers, researchers and practitioners to explore the pressing questions of our time in education policy and equalising opportunities.


Image: Tom Fisk via Pexels

About the Speaker

Phil Parker

Deputy Director of the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at the Australian Catholic University

Phil received his doctorate in Educational from the University of Sydney. His major research interest includes educational inequality, developmental transitions, and educational attainment. In 2019, The Australian named him as one of 50 rising stars of Australian Research.