Advertisement

The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 319–340 | Cite as

Factors contributing to educational outcomes for First Nations students from remote communities: A systematic review

  • John GuentherEmail author
  • Kevin Lowe
  • Catherine Burgess
  • Greg Vass
  • Nikki Moodie
Article

Abstract

Education for Australian First Nations students living in remote communities has long been seen as an intractable problem. Ten years of concerted effort under Closing the Gap and related policy initiatives has done little to change outcomes beyond small, incremental improvements. Programmes and strategies promising much have come and gone, and most have died a quiet death. This apparent failure leaves the context of remote education ripe for the picking. If we can demonstrate what works and why, it may provide an answer to the problem. This systematic review aims to uncover what research reveals about what does make a difference to outcomes for students. The review found 45 papers that provide considerable evidence to show what is and is not effective. The review also found several issues that have little or no evidence and which could be the subject of more research.

Keywords

Remote education First Nations Systematic review Educational outcomes Success factors 

Notes

References

  1. ACARA. (2015). Measurement framework for schooling in Australia 2015. Sydney: ACARA.Google Scholar
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). Remoteness structure. Retrieved May 2018, from http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/home/remoteness+structure.
  3. Beattie, N. J., Shaw, P., & Larson, A. (2008). Water safety in the bush: Strategies for addressing training needs in remote areas. Rural and Remote Health, 8(855).Google Scholar
  4. Benveniste, T., Dawson, D., Guenther, J., Rainbird, S., & King, L. (2016). Parent perspectives of boarding: insights from remote Aboriginal families. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education, Melbourne, 1 Decemebr 2016Google Scholar
  5. Benveniste, T., Dawson, D., & Rainbird, S. (2015a). The role of the residence: Exploring the goals of an Aboriginal residential program in contributing to the education and development of remote students. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 44(2), 163–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Benveniste, T., Guenther, J., Dawson, D., & Rainbird, S. (2015b). Deciphering distance: Exploring how Indigenous boarding schools facilitate and maintain relationships with remote families and communities. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education annual conference, Fremantle, 2 December 2015Google Scholar
  7. Biddle, N., Cameron, T., & National Centre for Vocational Education, R. (2012). Potential factors influencing Indigenous education participation and achievement. Research Report. National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)Google Scholar
  8. Burin, M. (2017). Walking in two worlds. Retrieved from May 2017, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-07/the-junior-ranger/8378336.
  9. Cooper, P., Kohler, M., & Blunden, S. (2012). Sleep and academic performance in Indigenous Australian children from a remote community: An exploratory study. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 48(2), 122–127.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1754.2011.02059.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Etherington, S. J. (2006). Learning to be Kunwinjku: Kunwinjku people discuss their pedagogy. Darwin NT: Charles Darwin University.Google Scholar
  11. Fluckiger, B., Diamond, P., & Jones, W. (2012). Yarning space: Leading literacy learning through family—school partnerships. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(3), 53–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fogarty, W. P. (2010). Learning through country: Competing knowledge systems and place based pedagogy. Canberra: Australian National University, Canberra.Google Scholar
  13. Gaffney, R. (2013). English as a distant language: An investigation of teachers’ understanding. Fitzroy, VIC: Australian Catholic University, Fitzroy VIC.Google Scholar
  14. Guenther, J. (2013). Are we making education count in remote Australian communities or just counting education? Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 42(2), 157–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Guenther, J. (2015). Analysis of national test scores in very remote Australian schools: Understanding the results through a different lens. In H. Askell-Williams (Ed.), Transforming the future of learning with educational research (pp. 125–143). Hershey: IGI Global.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Guenther, J., Disbray, S., & Osborne, S. (2014a). Digging up the (red) dirt on education: one shovel at a time. Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues (Special Edition), 17(4), 40–56.Google Scholar
  17. Guenther, J., Disbray, S., & Osborne, S. (2015a). Building on “Red Dirt” perspectives: what counts as important for remote education? Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 44(2), 194–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guenther, J., Halsey, J., & Osborne, S. (2015b). From paradise to beyond: Geographical constructs and how they shape education in the bush. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education [Special issue: What next for rural education research?], 25(3), 62–79.Google Scholar
  19. Guenther, J., Milgate, G., O’Beirne, P., & Osborne, S. (2014b). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aspirations and expectations of schooling in very remote Australian schools. Paper presented at the AARE Conference Proceedings, Queensland University of Technology Kelvin Grove Campus, Brisbane, 1–4 December 2014Google Scholar
  20. Guenther, J., Milgate, G., Perrett, B., Benveniste, T., Osborne, S., & Disbray, S. (2016). Boarding schools for remote secondary Aboriginal learners in the northern territory. Smooth transition or rough ride? Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education Annual Conference, Melbourne, 30 November 2016Google Scholar
  21. Harden, A., & Thomas, J. (2005). Methodological issues in combining diverse study types in systematic reviews. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8(3), 257–271.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13645570500155078.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hardy, I. (2013). Testing that counts: Contesting national literacy assessment policy in complex schooling settings. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 36(2), 67–77.Google Scholar
  23. Harper, H., Helmer, J., Lea, T., Chalkiti, K., Emmett, S., & Wolgemuth, J. (2012). ABRACADABRA for magic under which conditions? Case studies of a web-based literacy intervention in the Northern Territory. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 35(1), 33–50.Google Scholar
  24. Harris, T. (1990). Talking is not enough: A review of the education of traditionally oriented Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. Darwin: Office of the Minister for Education, the Arts and Cultural Affairs.Google Scholar
  25. Helmer, J., Bartlett, C., Wolgemuth, J. R., & Lea, T. (2011). Coaching (and) commitment: Linking ongoing professional development, quality teaching and student outcomes. Professional Development in Education, 37(2), 197–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Herbert, J., McInerney, D. M., Fasoli, L., Stephenson, P., & Ford, L. (2014). Indigenous secondary education in the Northern Territory: Building for the future. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 43(2), 85–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hewitt, B., & Walter, M. (2014). Preschool participation among Indigenous children in Australia. Family Matters (95), 41–50.Google Scholar
  28. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (2000). Education Access: National Inquiry into rural and remote education.Google Scholar
  29. Hunter, E. K. (2015). One foot in both worlds: Providing a city education for Indigenous Australian children from a very remote community: A case study. Wagga Wagga, NSW: Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga NSW.Google Scholar
  30. Joanna Briggs Institute. (2014). The Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewers Manual 2014. Methodology for JBI Mixed Methods Systematic Reviews. Adelaide: University of Adelaide.Google Scholar
  31. Klieve, H., & Fluckiger, B. (2015). Towards an evidence base: Exploring the impact of community-based literacy programs in remote Indigenous communities. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 40(2), 89–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kral, I., & Schwab, R. G. (2012). Learning spaces: Youth, literacy and new media in remote Indigenous Australia. Acton ACT: Australian National University. Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lietz, P., Darmawan, I. G. N., & Aldous, C. (2014). Indigenous and rural students: Double whammy or golden opportunity? Evidence from South Australia and around the world. Paper presented at the Australian Council for Educational Research . Research Conference. Quality and equity: What does research tell us? 3-5 August 2014, Adelaide Convention Centre, South Australia: Conference proceedings, 2014Google Scholar
  34. Lowe, K., Tennent, C., Guenther, J., Harrison, N., Burgess, C. Moodie, N., & Vass, G. ‘Aboriginal Voices’: An overview of the methodology applied in the systematic review of recent research across ten key areas of Australian Indigenous education (this issue)Google Scholar
  35. Mander, D. (2012). The transition experience to boarding school for male Aboriginal secondary school students from regional and remote communities across Western Australia. Joondalup, WA: Edith Cowan University.Google Scholar
  36. Mander, D. (2015). Enabling Voice: Aboriginal parents, experiences and perceptions of sending a child to Boarding School in Western Australia. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 44(Special Issue 02), 173–183.  https://doi.org/10.1017/jie.2015.21.
  37. Mander, D., Cohen, L., & Pooley, J. (2015a). A critical exploration of staff perceptions of Aboriginal boarding students’ experiences. Australian Journal of Education, 59(3), 312–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mander, D., Cohen, L., & Pooley, J. (2015b). “If i wanted to have more opportunities and go to a better school, i just had to get used to it”: Aboriginal students’ perceptions of going to Boarding School in Western Australia. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 44(1), 26–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McInerney, D. M. (2012). Conceptual and methodological challenges in multiple goal research among remote and very remote Indigenous Australian students. Applied Psychology, 61(4), 634–668.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-0597.2012.00509.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McInerney, D. M., Fasoli, L., Stephenson, P., & Herbert, J. (2012). Building the future for remote Indigenous students in Australia: An examination of future goals, motivation, learning and achievement in cultural context. In Handbook on psychology of motivation: New research (pp. 61–84).Google Scholar
  41. McLeod, S., Verdon, S., & Kneebone, L. B. (2014). Celebrating young Indigenous Australian children’s speech and language competence. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29(2014), 118–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Northern Territory Department of Education. (1986). Aboriginal education in the Northern Territory: A situation report, June 1986. Darwin: Department of Education.Google Scholar
  43. Northern Territory Department of Education (1999). Learning Lessons—An independent review of Indigenous education in the Northern Territory. In Northern Territory Department of Education (Ed.). Darwin: Northern Territory Government.Google Scholar
  44. Nutton, G. D. (2013). The effectiveness of mobile preschool (Northern Territory) in improving school readiness for very remote Indigenous children. Darwin: Charles Darwin University.Google Scholar
  45. O’Bryan, M. (2016). Shaping futures, shaping lives: an investigation into the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Australian boarding schools. Melbourne: University of MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  46. Oliver, R., Grote, E., Rochecouste, J., & Exell, M. (2013a). Needs analysis for task-based language teaching: A case study of Indigenous vocational education and training students who speak EAL/EAD. TESOL in Context, 22(2), 36–50.Google Scholar
  47. Oliver, R., Grote, E., Rochecouste, J., & Exell, M. (2013b). A task-based needs analysis for australian Aboriginal students: Going beyond the target situation to address cultural issues. International Journal of Training Research, 11(3), 246–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Osborne, S. (2015). Learning from Anangu histories: Population centralisation and decentralisation influences and the provision of schooling in tri-state remote communities. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 44(2), 127–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Osborne, S. (2017). Staging standpoint dialogue in tristate education: Privileging A n angu voices. Melbourne: Victoria University.Google Scholar
  50. Pace, R., Pluye, P., Bartlett, G., Macaulay, A. C., Salsberg, J., Jagosh, J., et al. (2012). Testing the reliability and efficiency of the pilot Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) for systematic mixed studies review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 49(1), 47–53.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2011.07.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Parkes, A. (2013). The dreams of mobile young Aboriginal Australian people. Bachelor of Arts Sociology Honours Thesis. Adelaide, SA: University of South Australia.Google Scholar
  52. Parkes, A., McRae-Williams, E., & Tedmanson, D. (2015). Dreams and aspirations of mobile young Aboriginal Australian people. Journal of Youth Studies, 18(6), 763–776.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Pearson, N. (2014). AIEF is in the business of nation changing. Retrieved August 2015, from http://aief.com.au/cms/workspace/uploads/140712-aus-50th-noel-pearson.pdf.
  54. Redman-MacLaren, M. L., Klieve, H., Mccalman, J., Russo, S., Rutherford, K., Wenitong, M., et al. (2017). Measuring resilience and risk factors for the psychosocial well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Boarding School Students: Pilot baseline study results. Frontiers in Education.  https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2017.00005.
  55. Senior, K. A., & Chenhall, R. D. (2012). Boyfriends, babies and basketball: Present lives and future aspirations of young women in a remote Australian Aboriginal community. Journal of Youth Studies, 15(3), 369–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Silburn, S., McKenzie, J., Guthridge, S., Li, L., & Li, S. Q. (2014). Unpacking educational inequality in the Northern Territory. Paper presented at the Quality and equity: What does research tell us? 3–5 August 2014, Adelaide Convention Centre, South Australia : conference proceedings, 2014Google Scholar
  57. Turnbull, M. (2018). Closing the Gap Prime Minister’s Report 2018. Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.Google Scholar
  58. Tyler, W., Robinson, G., & Bartlett, C. (2009). Outcomes of the National Accelerated Literacy Program in the Northern Territory, 20042007. Paper presented at the AARE 2009 International education research conference, Canberra, 2009Google Scholar
  59. Watts, B. H., & Gallacher, J. D. (1964). Report on an investigation into the curriculum and teaching methods used in Aboriginal schools in the Northern Territory, to the Honourable C. E. Barnes, Minister of State for Territories. Darwin, N.T.Google Scholar
  60. Whatman, S. L., & Singh, P. (2015). Constructing health and physical education curriculum for Indigenous girls in a remote Australian community. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 20(2), 215–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wilson, B. (2014). A share in the future: Review of Indigenous Education in the Northern Territory.Google Scholar
  62. Wolgemuth, J. R., Savage, R., Helmer, J., Harper, H., Lea, T., Abrami, P. C., et al. (2013). ABRACADABRA aids Indigenous and non-Indigenous early literacy in Australia: Evidence from a multisite randomized controlled trial. Computers & Education, 67, 250–264.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.04.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wolgemuth, J., Savage, R., Helmer, J., Lea, T., Harper, H., Chalkiti, K., et al. (2011). Using computer-based instruction to improve Indigenous early literacy in Northern Australia: A quasi-experimental study. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 27(4), 727–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Yunkaporta, T. (2009). Aboriginal pedagogies at the cultural interface. Townsville: James Cook University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary EducationParapAustralia
  2. 2.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Griffith UniversityNathanAustralia
  5. 5.University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations