My journey through “Educational Opportunity in Australia 2015” (The Senior School Years) Part 4

I have a pounding headache for some reason and probably will be a little brief on this particular blog. Which one of you remembered the high school years? I personally had a good time and felt what has been learned was useful in laying the foundation for my future studies.

Those with Year 12 have a greater likelihood of continuing with further study, particularly in higher education, as well as entering the workforce. They also have better prospects of good health, employment and welfare, as well as improvements in the ability to participate socially and economically in their communities. At a broader level, Year 12 attainment contributes to the development of a skilled workforce, and in turn, to ongoing economic development and improved living conditions. #1

Now let’s get down to some stats and interesting data

Only 60.6 per cent of young people from the lowest socio-economic status backgrounds completed Year 12 or its equivalent. The rates of attainment increase with each rise in socio-economic status, reaching 89.1 per cent for those in the highest decile. #2

Young people  from families in which the main language spoken at home is not English – are more likely to complete school than those whose main language at home is English; the difference is about 11 percentage points (83.4 per cent vs 72 per cent). This finding is in line with research showing that even though the average educational attainment of parents in non-English-speaking families is often lower than their native English-speaking peers, they have higher educational aspirations for their children and place a premium on completing Year 12 as a way of enhancing their children’s future prospects (Miller & Volker, 1987). There are differences based on the type of language spoken at home. The highest rates of completion are among those children whose parents speak Eastern and Southeast Asian languages (such as Chinese or Vietnamese languages). #3

The main factor influencing achievement is social background. Seventy per cent of the variance in mathematics achievement is due to socio-economic status differences, and 74 per cent in science achievement. Socio-economic status also has a large independent influence on reading (accounting for 57 per cent of explained variance), though less than for mathematics and science, due to the effect of gender on reading achievement. #4

There of course question on what are the factors that causing difference in achievement and completion? We always know different school makes difference, but how much difference do they make? What are the other factors?

The main factor influencing achievement is social background. Seventy per cent of the variance in mathematics achievement is due to socio-economic status differences, and 74 per cent in science achievement. Socio-economic status also has a large independent influence on reading (accounting for 57 per cent of explained variance), though less than for mathematics and science, due to the effect of gender on reading achievement. #5

An analysis of the 2012 mathematical literacy results in PISA, shows that in Australia the amount of variation between schools (31 per cent) is lower than the OECD average (37 per cent). #6

The analysis also found that more than half of the performance differences observed across students in different schools can be accounted for by socio-economic status differences between students and between schools. #7

Segregation, residualisation and division of labour

Low-socio-economic status communities in Australia are largely served by government schools. Just on 77.5 per cent of students from the most socially disadvantaged backgrounds (lowest socio-economic status quintile) attend government schools (Panel 1). Conversely, only 37.5 per cent of the most advantaged students (top socio-economic status quintile) attend government schools. Just over 35 per cent attend independent schools and a further 27.2 per cent attend Catholic schools. #8

Nationally, government schools enrol 59.3 per cent of secondary school students, but they have the largest share of students with disabilities (76.4 per cent), Indigenous students (79.4 per cent), and the lowest mathematics achievers (76.2 per cent). There is therefore a very uneven division of labour across school sectors in terms of schooling-disadvantaged secondary school age Australians. There is also a segregation of the population based on these characteristics. #9

Additionally, there is the impact of family aspirations. Government schools form a market, in which schools that have not reached their enrolment limit allow families to make choices, bypassing some schools in favour of others. The movement of students from aspirational families to desirable schools in both the government and non-government sectors leaves schools in some communities with residues of concentrated poverty or students with higher needs, making it harder for these schools to achieve the same outcomes for students. #10

The high levels of segregation of students in Australia, due in large part to residential segregation and the sector organisation of schools, tend to reinforce patterns of inequality and strengthen differences in school performance. This means that students from disadvantaged socio-economic status backgrounds tend to do worse because of the extent of segregation. #11

I can personally attest to this segregation and residualisation affect in the government schools. I attended a none selection government secondary school on the edge of inner west Sydney and over the years, the school slowly attracted a number of high performers from a number of schools located in western Sydney. At end of year 12, large percentage of top performers do not actually reside in the actual school catchment.

Writing must be like driving an elixir of healing, my headache actually mostly cleared up, maybe I should do this more often.

#1 to #11 Educational opportunity in Australia 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

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