Measurement of the socio-economic status of Australian higher education students
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
The underrepresentation of persons from socio-economicallydisadvantaged backgrounds in higher education in countries such as Australia isof policy concern. In order to be able to identify such individuals fortargeted interventions and to monitor their participation rates, it is necessary to havean accurate, simple to administer, and relatively inexpensive method of measuringstudents' socio-economic characteristics.
We demonstrate that the postcode methodology currently used bythe Australian Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA) formonitoring purposes, while being relatively simple and inexpensive toadminister, is subject to considerable error. A student is allocated the `average'socio-economic status (SES) of all persons living within their residential postcode area, butareas can contain a mix of people from low, medium and high socio-economicbackgrounds. In order to identify more accurately low SES students, we develop measuresbased upon the characteristics of individual students, rather than thecharacteristics of the area in which they reside.
These new measures are based upon the results of theParticipation in Higher Education Survey. This survey was conducted in the second half of1997 and was based upon a sample of approximately 3000 first year studentsenrolled at a range of campuses throughout one Australian State. Our findings suggestthat individual-based measures relating to the occupation and education ofparents at the time when the student was in high school are appropriate for theclassification of both recent school leavers and mature aged students. Together, thesecharacteristics represent the family socio-economic situation while the studentwas attending secondary school.
- Ainley, J. and Long, M. (1995). 'Measuring student socioeconomic status', in Ainley, J., Graetz, B., Long, M. and Batten, M. (eds.), Socioeconomic Status and School Education. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, pp. 52–76.
- Anderson, D.S. and Western, J.S. (1970). 'Social profiles of students in four professions', Quarterly Review of Australian Education 3(4), 1–28.
- Anderson, D.S. and Vervoorn, A.E. (1983). Access to Privilege: Patterns of Participation in Australian Postsecondary Education. Canberra: Australian National University Press.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (1990). Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, Catalogue No 1356.0. Canberra: Commonwealth Government Printer.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (1997). ASCO Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.
- Blau, P.M. and Duncan, O.D. (1967). The American Occupational Structure. New York: John Wiley and Sons Inc.
- Blossfeld, H.P. and Shavit, Y. (1993). 'Persisting barriers: Changes in educational opportunities in thirteen countries', in Shavit Y. and Blossfeld H.P. (eds.), Persistent Inequality: Changing Educational Attainment in Thirteen Countries. Colorado: Westview Press Inc, pp. 1–24.
- Carpenter, P.G. and Western, J.S. (1989). Origins, Aspirations and Early Career Attainments. Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research.
- Clarke, J.R. (1995). 'Educational equity-The Australian context', in Postle, G.D., Clarke, J.R., Skuja, E., Bull, D.D., Batorowicz, K. and McCann, H.A. (eds.), Towards Excellence in Diversity: Educational Equity in the Australian Higher Education Sector in 1995. Status, Trends and Future Directions. Toowoomba: USQ Press, pp. 37–58.
- Clarke, J., Zimmer, B. and Main, R. (1997). 'Under-representation in Australian higher education by the socio-economically disadvantaged: Review of trends, practices, and implications for university planning', Paper presented at the Eighth International Conference, Australasian Association for Institutional Research, Adelaide, 26-28 November.
- Coburn, D. and Edwards, V.L. (1976). 'Objective and subjective socioeconomic status: Intercorrelations and consequences', Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 13, 178–188.
- Crockett, G. (1987). 'Socio-economic background of students in tertiary education in Australia: Some additional evidence', Australian Bulletin of Labour 13, 120–125.
- Department of Employment, Education and Training, and National Board of Employment, Education and Training (1990). A Fair Chance for All: National and Institutional Planning for Equity in Higher Education, A Discussion Paper. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.
- Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Higher Education Division (1997). 'Equity groups in higher education: A national perspective', Paper presented at the Eighth International Conference, Australasian Association for Institutional Research, Adelaide, 26-28 November.
- Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Higher Education Division (1998). The Characteristics and Performance of Higher Education Institutions. Canberra: AusInfo.
- Department of Primary Industries and Energy, and Department of Human Services and Health (1994). Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas Classification: 1991 Census Edition. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.
- Goldring, J. (1986). 'An updated social profile of students entering law courses', in Pearce, D., Campbell, E. and Harding, D. (eds.), Australian Law Schools: A Discipline Assessment for the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission, Volume 3, Appendix 4. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.
- Hammond, S.B. (1956). Draft Report of the First Year Student Survey. Melbourne: University of Melbourne.
- Hauser, R.M. (1994). 'Measuring socioeconomic status in studies of child development', Child Development 65, 1541–1545.
- Hauser, R.M. and Warren, J.R. (1997). 'Socioeconomic indexes for occupations: A review, update and critique', Social Science and Medicine 36(3), 217–225.
- Higher Education Council (1998). Higher Education Council Twelfth Report to the National Board of Employment, Education and Training on the Operation of Section 14 of the Higher Education Funding Act 1988 and the Higher Education Contribution Scheme. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.
- Jones, F.L. (1989). 'Occupational prestige in Australia: A new scale', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology 25(2), 187–199.
- Jones, F.L. and Davis, P. (1986). Models of Society: Class, Stratification and Gender in Australia and New Zealand. Sydney: Croom Helm.
- Jones, R. (submitted). Socio-Economic Status of Higher Education Students: Assessment of the Postcode SES Methodology. Report submitted to the Evaluation and Investigations Program, Policy and Review Branch, Higher Education Division, DEET. Project brief reference C90/6380.
- Linke, R., Oertel, L. and Kelsy, N. (1985). 'Participation and equity in higher education: A preliminary report on the socio-economic profile of higher education students in South Australia, 1974-1984', Australian Bulletin of Labour 11(3), 124–141.
- Martin, L.M. (1994). Equity and General Performance Indicators in Higher Education. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.
- 2 scale: A revised occupational status scale for Australia', Journal of Sociology.
- Moodie, G. and Swift, L. (1996). 'Participation in higher education in South Australia by people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds', Journal of Institutional Research in Australasia 5(2), 55–70.
- Postle, G.D., Clarke, J.R. and Bull, D.D. (1995). 'Equity programs and strategies reported by the Australian higher education sector', in Postle, G.D., Clarke, J.R., Skuja, E., Bull, D.D., Batorowicz, K. and McCann, H.A. (eds.), Towards Excellence in Diversity: Educational equity in the Australian Higher Education Sector in 1995. Status, Trends and Future Directions. Toowoomba: USQ Press, pp. 37–58.
- Power, C. and Robertson, R. (1987). 'Participation and equity in higher education: Socioeconomic profiles of higher education students revisited', Australian Bulletin of Labour 13(1), 108–119.
- Power, C., Robertson, R. and Beswick, G. (1985). Access to Higher Education: Participation, Equity and Policy, Final Report. National Institute of Labour Studies Incorporated.
- Schonell, F.J., Rowe, E. and Meddleton, I.G. (1962). Promise and Performance, a Study of Student Progress at University Level. Brisbane: University of Queensland Press.
- Shavit, Y. and Blossfeld, H.P. (eds.) (1993). Persistent Inequality: Changing Educational Attainment in Thirteen Countries. Colorado: Westview Press Inc.
- Western, J., McMillan, J. and Durrington, D. (1998). Differential Access to Higher Education: The Measurement of Socio-Economic Status, Rurality and Isolation. Canberra: AusInfo.
- Williams, T. (1987). Participation in Education, ACER Research Monograph No. 30. Hawthorne, Vic: Australian Council for Educational Research.
- Williams, T., Long, M., Carpenter, P. and Hayden, M. (1993a). Year 12 in the 1980s. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.
- Williams, T., Long, M., Carpenter, P. and Hayden, M. (1993b). Entering Higher Education in the 1980s. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.
- Measurement of the socio-economic status of Australian higher education students
Volume 39, Issue 2 , pp 223-247
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links