Go8 Response to the Measuring the Socio-Economic Status of HE Students Discussion Paper 2009
The Group of Eight supports a move to measure the real socioeconomic characteristics and background of students by exploring additional, relevant, directly measured variables (subject to validation of quality), rather than relying on the present use of imputed values, based on postcode areas. Group of Eight encourages the development of improved data sets, to better understand the interaction of factors which lead to success in higher education, and to support data-based evaluation of policy initiatives and programs.
The Group of Eight supports analysis at Population Census Collector’s District (CD) level, rather than postcode (recognising that CDs are generally more homogeneous and smaller, and more stable). However, the fundamental problem remains that relatively advantaged students coming from particular areas will be counted as low SES because of the disadvantages of others who live in the same geographical area. The government’s low SES initiatives will be measured in terms of whether more students come from those and similar areas, and not in terms of whether more truly disadvantaged students enrol.
The Group of Eight also supports the inclusion of relevant Centrelink data related to students and their parents, subject to data validation and timeliness, on the basis that those students have an evident, data-verified disadvantage in having to meet eligibility criteria.
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Go8 Response to the Measuring the Socio-Economic Status of Higher Education Students Discussion Paper, 2009