Advertisement

Socioeconomic Inequality and Student Outcomes in Australia

  • Philip ParkerEmail author
  • Jiesi Guo
  • Taren Sanders
Chapter
  • 522 Downloads
Part of the Education Policy & Social Inequality book series (EPSI, volume 4)

Abstract

This chapter provides an overview of (a) the Australian education system (including a historical overview from 1970 to today); (b) an exploration of socioeconomic inequality in IQ, academic achievement in high-stakes tests, and critical non-cognitive factors from the start of school to near the end of middle school; (c) an exploration of socioeconomic inequality in achievement in adolescent birth cohorts from the 1960s to 2000; and (d) a reflection on how education policy has influenced inequality and what may need to be done to redress it in the future. We find that inequalities present at the beginning of school tend to get larger as children age and that historical inequalities have also tended to increase over time. While Australia has had a large number of private schools since the 1970s, we argue that recent cultural changes have resulted in schools being seen as a market and that this has driven up ability stratification between schools and may account for increased inequality over time.

Keywords

Student achievement Socioeconomic status Inequality Australia 

References

  1. Anderson, A. R., Christenson, S. L., Sinclair, M. F., & Lehr, C. A. (2004). Check & connect: The importance of relationships for promoting engagement with school. Journal of School Psychology, 42(2), 95–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ball, S. J. (1993). Education markets, choice and social class: The market as a class stratergy in the UK and the USA. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 14, 3–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barr, A., Gillard, J., Firth, V., Scrymgour, M., Welford, R., Lomax-Smith, J., … Constable, E. (2008). Melbourne declaration on educational goals for Young Australians. USA: ERIC.Google Scholar
  4. Bradley, D., Noonan, P., Nugent, H., & Scales, B. (2008). Review of higher education in Australia: Final report. Canberra: Australian Government.Google Scholar
  5. Campbell, C., & Proctor, H. (2014). A history of Australian schooling. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  6. Campbell, C., Proctor, H., & Sherington, G. (2009). School choice: How parents negotiate the new school market in Australia. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  7. Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (1997). PPVT-III: Peabody picture vocabulary test. American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  8. Forsey, M., Proctor, H., & Stacey, M. (2017). A most poisonous debate: Legitimizing support for Australian private schools. In T. Koinzer, R. Nikolai, & F. Waldow (Eds.), Private schools and school choice in compulsory education (pp. 49–66). Wiesbaden: Springer.Google Scholar
  9. Friedman, M. (2009). Capitalism and freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Gonski, D., Boston, K., Greiner, K., Lawrence, C., Scales, B., & Tannock, P. (2011). Review of funding for schooling: Final report. Canberra: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.Google Scholar
  11. Goodman, R. (1997). The strengths and difficulties questionnaire: A research note. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38(5), 581–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hancock, K. J., Mitrou, F., Povey, J., Campbell, A., & Zubrick, S. R. (2018). Educational inequality across three generations in Australia. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 53(1), 34–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Heckman, J. J. (2006). Skill formation and the economics of investing in disadvantaged children. Science, 312(5782), 1900–1902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Heckman, J. J., & Rubinstein, Y. (2001). The importance of noncognitive skills: Lessons from the GED testing program. American Economic Review, 91(2), 145–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hetherington, D. (2018). What price the gap? Education and inequality in Australia. Retrieved from https://publiceducationfoundation.org.au/what-price-the-gap-education-and-inequality-in-australia/.
  16. Holme, J. J. (2002). Buying homes, buying schools: School choice and the social construction of school quality. Harvard Educational Review, 72, 177–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jerrim, J., Parker, P. D., Katyn Chmielewski, A., & Anders, J. (2015). Private schooling, educational transitions, and early labour market outcomes: Evidence from three anglophone countries. European Sociological Review, 32(2), 280–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kautz, T., Heckman, J. J., Diris, R., Ter Weel, B., & Borghans, L. (2014). Fostering and measuring skills: Improving cognitive and non-cognitive skills to promote lifetime success. National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  19. Ledgar, J. (1996). Overview of the Australian education system. Higher Education in Europe, 21(4), 102–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Marks, G. N., & Rothman, S. (2003). Longitudinal studies of Australian youth. Australian Economic Review, 36(4), 428–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mooney, M., Dobia, B., Yeung, A. S., Barker, K. L., Power, A., & Watson, K. (2008). Positive behaviour for learning: Investigating the transfer of a United States system into the New South Wales Department of Education and Training Western Sydney Region Schools: Report.Google Scholar
  22. Murphy, R., & Weinhardt, F. (2018). Top of the class: The importance of ordinal rank (No. w24958). National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  23. Owens, A. (2016). Inequality in children’s contexts: Income segregation of households with and without children. American Sociological Review, 81(3), 549–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Parker, P. D., Jerrim, J., Schoon, I., & Marsh, H. W. (2016). A multination study of socioeconomic inequality in expectations for progression to higher education: The role of between-school tracking and ability stratification. American Educational Research Journal, 53(1), 6–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Parker, P. D., Marsh, H. W., Guo, J., Anders, J., Shure, N., & Dicke, T. (2018a). An information distortion model of social class differences in math self-concept, intrinsic value, and utility value. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110, 445–463.Google Scholar
  26. Parker, P. D., Marsh, H. W., Jerrim, J. P., Guo, J., & Dicke, T. (2018b). Inequity and excellence in academic performance: Evidence from 27 countries. American Educational Research Journal, 55, 836–858.Google Scholar
  27. Paterson, G., & Sanson, A. (1999). The association of behavioural adjustment to temperament, parenting and family characteristics among 5-year-old children. Social Development, 8(3), 293–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Petermann, F., & Petermann, U. (2011). Wechsler intelligence scale for children® (4th ed.).Google Scholar
  29. Ray, A., & Margaret, W. (2003). PISA Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) PISA 2000 technical report: PISA 2000 technical report. Paris, France: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  30. Research, A. C. O. E. (2018). Youth in transition, 1961 Cohort (Publication no. doi/ https://doi.org/10.4225/87/gb0kc4) from ADA Dataverse http://dx.doi.org/10.4225/87/GB0KC4.
  31. Rowe, E. E., & Lubienski, C. (2017). Shopping for schools or shopping for peers: Public schools and catchment area segregation. Journal of Education Policy, 32(3), 340–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sanson, A., Nicholson, J., Ungerer, J., Zubrick, S., Wilson, K., Ainley, J., … Harrison, L. (2002). Longitudinal study of Australian children (Discussion Paper 1). Melbourne, Australia: Australian Institute of Family Studies.Google Scholar
  33. Steinberg, L. (2014). Age of opportunity: Lessons from the new science of adolescence. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic UniversityNorth SydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations