ABSTRACT What factors affect low SES students’ educational attainment?

What factors affect low SES students’ educational attainment?
Dr Emmaline Bexley, University of Melbourne
The proportion of students from low SES backgrounds attending university has remained
stable for many years, despite many university-led initiatives for improving participation.
Educational disadvantage affects children's academic abilities and aspirations extremely
early in life, with some studies indicating differences can be observed in toddler-hood. By
the time students are of an age to attend university, many from disadvantaged backgrounds
will have already left school, or will not have reached a sufficient level of attainment to
access university. The present ENTER/ATAR system often works to compound these
disadvantages, even though Year 12 rank is only loosely correlated with success at
Emmaline Bexley is Lecturer in Higher Education at the Centre for the Study of Higher
Education at the University of Melbourne. Her recent research has included a report on the
fairness and suitability of tertiary selection practices in Victoria for the the State
Government of Victoria’s Joint Policy Unit on Youth Transitions, as well as research for the
Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC). Other recent projects have focused on equity
and participation in higher education, student finances, the career aspirations of HDR
students and the work roles of academics.
Access Monash Seminar: “Navigating the Turbulent Seas of Equity and Excellence”, 25 March 2011
Monash University, Clayton Campus