tThe relationship between socio-economic status and school achievement is well documented and exten-sive literature indicates that students from more advantaged backgrounds perform better at school.Despite this relationship, several international assessments have highlighted that in every country thereare a relevant number of “resilient students”, i.e. students from a disadvantaged socio-economic back-ground who achieve relatively high levels of performance in terms of education. In this paper, thedeterminants of resilience in the Italian educational system are investigated through the analysis of datafrom the OECD-PISA 2009 cycle, with a specific focus on the role of school-level variables that couldhelp more students perform to a higher standard. The aim is to target a specific category of resilient stu-dents, namely those from a low socio-economic background at both family and school level, proposing aninnovative statistical procedure to derive a sample of disadvantaged students attending disadvantagedschools. After this, a multilevel logistic approach is adopted to determine which specific characteristicsof students, families and schools tend to give disadvantaged students a higher probability of becom-ing resilient students. Our results confirm that individual-level characteristics play a role, but also thatsome school factors (i.e. extra-curricular activities and school leadership) are equally involved, suggestingpolicy- and management-related implications.
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