My journey through “Educational Opportunity in Australia 2015” Part 1

I have encountered this landmark study a few days ago as mentioned in my Educational opportunity in Australia 2015. I have start reading the study, the key finding already contained some really interesting information. I had a browse through the study as well to see the data and information available as well. There are a sea of data to demonstrate and back up the findings in the study, also offer some really interesting insights into the Australian education in general.

I will probably try to do this in a 5 to 6 part series, to be honest I think this is still not doing justice to the data and information I had read so far. We will see how we go with it I guess. The study had broken the result into four milestone and they are as following.

  • Milestone 1: For the early years, the milestone is the proportion of children who, at the point of entry to school, are developmentally ready as measured across five domains: physical health and well being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, and communication and general knowledge.
  • Milestone 2: For the middle years, it is the proportion of Year 7 students who meet or exceed international proficiency standards in academic skills.
  • Milestone 3: For the senior years, it is the proportion of young people who have completed school and attained a Year 12 certificate or equivalent.
  • Milestone 4: For early adulthood, it is the percentage of 24-year-olds who are fully engaged in education, training or work.


There are more detailed information which you can read from the full report, but I am summarizing what I think are the most important and relevant points as following.

Milestone 1: At the point of entry to school. #2

  • Learners in the lowest socio-economic quintile are 2.08 times more likely to miss out on the milestone than learners in the highest socio-economic quintile (31.7 per cent vs 15.2 per cent). These differences are greatest in the aspects of school readiness that matter most for academic achievement.
  • Of the factors that increase the risk of not meeting the milestone for readiness for school, socio-economic status has the strongest effect.

Milestone 2: Year 7 #3

  • National data on socio-economic differences are not available for this measure, but parental education provides a proxy measure. Learners whose parents did not complete Year 12 are 3.72 times more likely to be missing out on the milestone than learners with at least one parent with a university degree (49.5 per cent vs 13.3 per cent).
  • Learners begin to become separated across schools at this stage. A disproportionate share of learners at the lowest level of socio-educational advantage attends government schools (79.6 per cent).
  • Most of the variation in learner progress up to the middle years is accounted for by student-level factors, but school-level factors still exert some influence, especially social intake as measured by mean school socio-economic status.

Milestone 3: Completion of school at age of 19 #4

  • Year 12 attainment among 19-year-olds varies substantially by socio-economic background. The socio-economic status gap is a much as 28 percentage points between highest and lowest. About 40 per cent of young people from the lowest socio-economic status backgrounds do not complete Year 12 or its equivalent by age 19.
  • The nature and quality of school completion for young people varies, and this is important because it affects access to later opportunities. Only 56 per cent of young people gain an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) that allows competitive access to university. This is linked to student background, with socio-economic status having a strong effect.
  • Completion is linked to achievement in school. Only one in two of the lowest mathematics achievers (lowest decile) at age 15 completed Year 12 by age 19. For the highest achievers, 94.3 per cent had completed Year 12 by age 19.
  • Schools that serve largely middle-class populations do better on a range of scholastic and student outcomes. Those serving low socio-economic status communities do not do well. Segregation – the separation of populations along social, ethnic and racial lines – is a key driver.

Milestone 4: Engaged in education, training or work at age 24 #5

  • Young people who are not fully engaged in education or work are disproportionately female and from low socio-economic status backgrounds, located more often in regional and remote locations, and Indigenous.
  • Not completing Year 12 and not achieving well in school are predictors of later outcomes, though others are ‘under-attached’: despite completing Year 12 and engaging in some training and gaining some work experience, they have not progressed through further education courses or secured a stable attachment to the labour market.
  • Socio-economic background is a strong predictor of enrolment in university: two-thirds of young people from high socio-economic status backgrounds (highest quintile) enter university by their mid-20s, while only onequarter of those from disadvantaged backgrounds (lowest quintile) do. Students living in major urban areas of Australia are more likely to attend university than those living elsewhere.

I am pretty sure I covered all the most important and interesting parts from the key findings. There are already some really interesting finding and study will then goes into detail with massive amount of data. I will attempt to go through each main section and list some of the examples.

Reference: #1 to #5 Educational opportunity in Australia 2015

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