Locating Aspirations: Evidence to Support Participation in Higher Education of Low SES Students from Regional and Remote Australia
Lead University: University of Newcastle
Lead Researcher: Jenny Gore
Research Team: Jenny Gore, Leanne Fray, Geoff Whitty, Max Smith, Jess Harris and Adam Lloyd
Year Funded: 2016
Funding Received: $277,079
The project examined the educational and career aspirations of regional and remote students from low SES backgrounds. Existing longitudinal data were combined with additional quantitative and qualitative data collected through surveys of, and interviews with, students, teachers and parents. The project produced robust evidence on regional and remote student aspirations, demonstrating how heterogeneity within areas and communities provided varying experiences and shaped diverse aspirations.
- The project had three objectives:
- Map the occupational interests and educational intentions of school students from Years 3 to 12 in regional and remote areas.
- Gather additional quantitative and qualitative data from low socioeconomic status (SES) students who reside in outer regional, remote and very remote areas, and analyse differences within and between community types in order to understand the ways in which location interacts with aspiration formation and understandings of the pathways and barriers to higher education.
- Inform the design of equity initiatives and other educational interventions to better engage these students, their families and communities.
- The project involved the analysis of the educational and career aspirations of regional and remote students from low SES backgrounds, and reasons for those aspirations. An existing data set including more than 10,000 surveys completed by school students and focus groups involving 553 of these students was combined with additional data collected from regional and remote areas.
- The new data comprised surveys completed by 1,532 students, 57 parents, 152 teachers, as well as interviews with 147 students, 42 parents and 55 teachers. Regression analyses and qualitative analyses produced robust evidence on regional and remote student aspirations, demonstrating how heterogeneity within areas and communities provided varying experiences and shaped diverse aspirations.
- Three research articles were in preparation for submission to national and international journals by July 2018:
- “Presence and proximity: a study of rural students’ aspirations for higher education”.
- “On ‘location’: The interplay of rural social space and post-school aspirations”
- “Exploring the emotional and material realities shaping young people’s aspirations for higher education in regional and remote areas”
- One research article was under review as at August, 2018.
- “Key influences on aspirations for higher education of Australian school students in regional and remote locations: A scoping review of empirical research, 1991–2016”.
- Two conference presentations were made at each of the following events:
- The Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia (SPERA) Conference, Canberra, September 2017.
- The Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia (EPHEA) Conference, Brisbane, December 2017.
- Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, Canberra, December 2017.
- One paper was delivered at each of the following events:
- Education Transforms Symposium, Hobart, July 2017
- Inclusive Education Summit (TIES), Adelaide, 2017.
- American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting, New York, 2018
- One paper will be delivered at the following event:
- European Educational Research Association (ECER) Conference, Bolzano, September, 2018.
- Three paper presentations will be made at the following event:
- Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, December, 2018.