Participation and achievement in technology education: the impact of school location and socioeconomic status on senior secondary technology studies
The rise of STEM education, and the twenty first century skills movement, and the increasingly technologically driven nature of our world, has pushed technology education to the fore in recent times. Technology education faces a range of equity issues and there has been a particular focus on gender issues. This study considers two less explored equity issues: school location and socioeconomic status (SES). Using data routinely collected in Victoria, Australia by the Department of Education and Training, senior school technology subject provision, enrolment and achievement patterns were examined by location and SES. Though little difference was found in the academic performance of students from metropolitan or non-metropolitan locations in technology subjects, there were notable differences in participation. Non-metropolitan students were more likely to enrol in design technology and engineering subjects than students attending metropolitan schools. However, while nonmetropolitan student’s enrolled in the digital technology subjects at a similar rate to metropolitan students, nonmetropolitan students were less likely to have access to these subjects. Students from lower SES schools tended to perform more poorly in technology subjects than students from high SES backgrounds. Further, the lowest SES schools were the least likely to offer technology subjects. This skewed access to, and performance in, technology subjects by SES and location, highlights significant equity issues in technology education that have attracted only limited attention in the literature.
KeywordsDesign technology Digital technology Equity Socioeconomic status Rural Metropolitan
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