Nicola Pensiero

Research Officer, Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES), UCL Institute of Education, London

Nicola Pensiero is a research officer at the Centre for the Study of Learning and Life Chances in the Knowledge Economies (LLAKES) at the UCL Institute of Education and a Pathways fellow since 2013. His research interests lie in the sociology of stratification and inequality, sociology of education, and income inequality.

He has studied the extent to which and the reasons why educational systems fail to contribute to equal opportunities for learning, to a more productive economy and a more equitable sharing of its benefits and burdens. As a pathways fellow, he has developed an expertise in the anlaysis of educational inequalities from both a cross-country and longitudinal perspective. He has worked extensively on large scale skill surveys such as PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), IALS (International Adult Literacy Survey), PIAAC (Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competences) to analyse the macro determinants of academic performance and achievement inequality from a cross-country perspective. He has also worked on the British cohort studies to analyse trends of inequality of educational opportunities using a multidimensional conceptualization of social origins. He has recently received a Nuffiled Fundation reseach grant to study the role of after school educational programmes in England in contributing to skill formation and social mobility among 15-year olds.

In 2012 he completed a PhD in Social and Political Sciences at the European University Institute with a thesis on the early and non-cognitive determinants of socio-economic attainment. During his PhD he was a visiting researcher at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and participated, as a sociologist of education, in the research project “NEUJOBS” (7th Framework Programme) on the expansion of the upper secondary education and inequalities in educational attainment in several European countries over the period 1944-present.

In his future projects, he plans to analyse of the interaction between educational system characteristics, parental strategy (parenting and expectations) and child’s behaviour to study the variation of educational inequality over the time and across countries.

Pensiero, N. and Schoon, I.(revise)Social inequalities in educational attainment between 1970 and 1990 in the UK. The changing impact of parents' social class, social status and education, and family income,European Societies

Green, A., Green, F. and Pensiero, N. (revise) Cross-Country Variation in Adult Skills Inequality. Why are the Anglophone Countries so Unequal?Comparative Education Review

Green, A. and Pensiero, N.(under review)The Effects of Upper Secondary Education and Training Systems on Skills Inequality. A Differences-in-Differences Analysis using PISA 2000 and the OECD Survey of Adult Skills, Oxford Review of Education (authors contributed equally to the paper).

Green, A., Green, F. and Pensiero, N.(2014)Why are Literacy and Numeracy Skills in England so Unequal? Evidence from the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills and other International Surveys. LLAKES Research Paper 47.

Book Chapters
Pensiero, N. (forthcoming) Designing instruction to enhance achievement of all and reduce inequality. In I. Schoon and R. K. Silbereisen (Eds.), Pathways to adulthood: structure, agency and social change

Green, A. and Pensiero, N.(forthcoming) ‘Comparative Perspectives: Education and Training System Effects on Youth transitions and Opportunities’. In (Eds.) I. Schoon and J. Bynner, ‘Young people and the great recession’.