Project Summary: Towards a Performance Measurement Framework for Equity in Higher Education
A summary of a project commissioned by the former Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education and conducted by the University of Canberra and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, discussed at the Equity in Higher Education Policy Forum held 30 April and 1 May 2013 in Sydney.
To fulfil its ambition of improving access and equity in the higher education sector, the Australian Government has invested in equity programs that support universities’ efforts to widen participation. These equity programs target specific groups that are underrepresented in higher education, including Indigenous Australians, those from low socioeconomic status (low SES) areas, people who live in regional and remote areas, and those with disabilities. The Government has set a target that by 2020, 20% of domestic higher education enrolments at the undergraduate level will be students from low SES areas. To understand whether equity outcomes are improving it is necessary to have a method of measuring those outcomes. A comprehensive performance measurement framework for equity outcomes in higher education is needed. Regular measurement of progress, or lack thereof, combined with evidence about the most effective equity interventions, is critical to bringing about change in equity outcomes. In this context the Department commissioned the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) to develop a conceptually-based performance measurement framework for equity (MFE) in higher education.