University of Newcastle researchers win grants to study student equity in Higher Education

Equity in higher education grant success

23 April 2014

University of Newcastle researchers win grants to study student equity in Higher Education.

Two teams of University of Newcastle researchers will be investigating:

  1. The impact schools have on students' higher education aspirations;
  2. Equity groups and predictors of academic success in higher education.

These important studies were two of only 12 proposals selected for funding in the inaugural competitive round of research grants awarded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education. These two studies extend on the University of Newcastle's commitment to equity in higher education and the University's recently established Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education.

Professor Jenny Gore will lead a team of Education researchers including Dr Kath Holmes, Professor Max Smith, Mr Andrew Lyell and Mr Hywel Ellis in the $75,000 study titled 'Choosing University: the impact of schools and schooling'.

"Through this project we'll investigate the impact of schools on aspirations and university entry in terms of school ethos, curriculum/subject selection, teachers and teaching to better understand which barriers and enabling conditions schools have some control over," Professor Gore said.

"We'll supplement surveys of 1200 current Year 11 students, and their parents and teachers with 15 school case studies, including interviews of former school students now at university, to determine the impact of schools on higher education aspirations."

An additional $54,700 study led by Dr Jill Scevak and her team including Dr Erica Southgate, Ms Suzanne Macqueen, Dr Mark Rubin, Ms Heather Douglas is titled: 'Equity groups and predictors of academic success in higher education'.

Dr Scevak said this cross Faculty project, with researchers in the School of Education and the School of Psychology, is an analysis of an existing data set from the Equity Groups and Predictors of Academic Success in Higher Education Study (EPS).

"We will be looking at which psychological, social and learning characteristics relate to successful academic outcomes for undergraduate students from equity groups, and why there are differing levels of academic success amongst equity and non-equity groups enrolled in the same programs and what characteristics relate to this," Dr Scevak said.

Further information is available at the on the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education website.