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Murdoch’s Aspirations and Pathways for University Project (MAP4U)

School-driven programs to raise and support educational aspirations of students in Years 10-12 from disadvantaged backgrounds


MAP4U programs are designed to raise and support the educational aspirations of students attending 23 Government and Non-Government schools in Rockingham, Kwinana and Mandurah. The MAP4U team works with schools to create and deliver student orientated programs and events that are embedded with support from university academics, industry professionals, university student mentors, future student officers, and program leaders. Through a suite of programs and events, the team connects with high school students who are capable of going to university, or other post-secondary institutions, to help raise aspirations, provide support, and identify suitable pathways to university.

The MAP4U suite of programs incorporates four key areas including:

1. Building Academic Aspirations and Achievement

Individual pathway plans – Identifying and creating an individual pathway to university, and
Parents and Career Transition Support program – Assisting parents and guardians to support their child’s educational and career aspirations.

2. Innovative Curriculum and Pedagogy

Creative Arts Initiative – Increasing student engagement and aspirations within the creative arts, and
Robotics Initiative – Increasing student engagement and aspirations within science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

3. Big Picture Academy (School within a school)

Big Picture Education – Providing an alternative education model that aims to empower young people in their learning and preparing them for university.

 4. Pathways to University

TLC University bridging course – A unit teaching high school students how university work is done
Gateways – An enabling program developing aspirational capabilities for university higher education
Portfolio development with Media Academics for portfolio entry to university, and
WACE exam preparation program.

The MAP4U team includes the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Engagement Academy, Domestic Regional Campuses, a Project Manager, four Program Leaders/PhD students, and two further PhD students. The team researches, implements, and evaluates MAP4U programs.

The major objective is to increase participation in higher education among students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds.

MAP4U is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education (formerly Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education) Project Grant (2012-2016) and is administered by Murdoch University. MAP4U links with every Western Australian university.

A survey was developed to collect baseline data including:

  • student demographics
  • educational and occupational aspirations
  • information sources for education or career plans
  • parent/guardian support
  • expectations for future
  • projected future achievements
  • favorite things about school, and
  • school experience.

Post-program surveys and follow-up interviews were also designed to gauge whether students who participated in MAP4U programs demonstrate enhanced educational aspirations, and increased intention to apply and attend university, in comparison to students who did not participate in MAP4U programs.

The data revealed students demonstrated high aspirations towards obtaining a university degree.

The Future
MAP4U will continue to refine school-driven programs to inspire and support the educational aspirations of young people from financially disadvantaged backgrounds living in the Kwinana, Rockingham and Mandurah regions.

Outreach Access and Support key, with all three circles filled with colour

Posted 29 September 2014 Posted in General, Low SES