University Aspirational Pathways for Metropolitan and Regional Students
Implications for Supporting School-university Outreach Partnerships
Keywords:University aspirations, university expectations, regional, metropolitan, high-school-students, partnerships
Young people in low socioeconomic (SES) regions, including regional and rural areas of Australia, aspire to attend university after high school at a comparable rate to young people in higher SES regions. However, without concrete opportunities to support and develop their aspirations, students in regional areas are unable to internalize the goals of a university education. Therefore, university participation rates are lower for regional than metropolitan students. This study examines the roles of aspiration and expectation to attend university for regional and metropolitan high school students living in a low-SES region of Western Australia, where a four-year university aspiration project was implemented. Specifically, the directionality of the development of university desire and expectation is tested using data collected over 18 months within a cross-lagged modeling framework. Differences within the region are explored using multiple group analysis, comparing the model of a regional sample with the model of propensity-score matched metropolitan sample. The results demonstrate that for metropolitan students within the region, higher early university desire feeds higher university expectations, which, in turn, crystalise subsequent university desires. For regional students, however, the cross-lagged effects were not demonstrated, suggesting other neighbourhood factors, beyond familiarity with university pathways, remain for when low-SES students live further from a major city. These findings suggest that within the same low-SES region, there is variation in how the culture and neighborhood factors interact to determine the efficacy of university participation widening programs. Addressing logistic factors that restrict access to university may further reduce the participation gap.
Alloway, N., & Dalley-Trim, L. (2009). 'High and dry' in rural Australia: Obstacles to student aspirations and expectations. Rural Society, 19(1), 49-59. doi:10.5172/rsj.3126.96.36.199
Alloway, N., Gilbert, P., Gilbert. R. & Muspratt, S. (2004). Factors impacting on student aspirations and expectations in regional Australia. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia: DEST.
Archer, L., DeWitt, J., & Wong, B. (2014). Spheres of influence: What shapes young peopleâ€™s aspirations at age 12/13 and what are the implications for education policy? Journal of Education Policy, 29(1), 58-85.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011). Census of population and housing, 2011. Selected characteristics. Retrieved from http://censusdata.abs.gov.au
Baker, W., Sammons, P., Siraj-Blatchford, I., Sylva, K., Melhuish, E. C., & Taggart, B. (2014). Aspirations, education and inequality in England: Insights from the effective provision of pre-school, primary and secondary education project. Oxford Review of Education, 40(5), 525-542. doi:10.1080/03054985.2014.953921
Boxer, P., Goldstein, S. E., DeLorenzo, T., Savoy, S., & Mercado, I. (2011).Educational aspirationâ€“expectation discrepancies: Relation to socioeconomic and academic risk-related factors. Journal of Adolescence, 34(4), 609-617.
Bradley, D., Noonan, P., Nugent, H., & Scales, B. (2008). Review of Australian higher education: Final report. Canberra, ACT: DEEWR. Retrieved from Department of Education, employment and Workplace Relations: www.deewr.gov.au/highereducation/review/pagesiewofaustralianhighereducationreport.aspx/r
Brotherhood of St Laurence. (2014). Australian Youth Unemployment 2014: Snapshot. Fitzroy: Brotherhood of St Laurence. Retrieved from http://library.bsl.org.au/jspui/bitstream/1/7060/1/MyChanceOurFuture_Youth_unemployment_snapshot_Feb2014.pdf
Department of Training and Workforce Development. (2015). Peel workforce development plan 2015-2018. Retrieved from http://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/uploads/Peel-workforce-development-plan-2015-2018.pdf
Eccles, J. (2009). Who am I and what am I going to do with my life? Personal and collective identities as motivators of action. Educational Psychologist, 44(2), 78-89.
Gale, T. (2015). Widening and expanding participation in Australian higher education: In the absence of sociological imagination. The Australian Educational Researcher, 42(2), 257. doi:10.1007/s13384-014-0167-7
Gale, T., & Parker, S. (2015). Calculating student aspiration: Bourdieu, spatiality and the politics of recognition. Cambridge Journal of Education, 45(1), 81-96. doi:10.1080/0305764X.2014.988685
Gale, T., Parker, S., Rodd, P., Stratton, G., & Sealey, T. (2013). Student aspirations for higher education in Central Queensland. Melbourne: CREFI.
Gottfredson, L. S. (1981). Circumscription and compromise: A developmental theory of occupational aspirations. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 28(6), 545-579. doi:10.1037/0022-0188.8.131.525
Halsey, J. (2017). Independent review into regional, rural and remote education: Discussion paper. Retrieved from Commonwealth of Australia website: https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/independent_review_into_regional_rural_and_remote_education.pdf
Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cut-off criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6, 1-55. doi:10.1080/10705519909540118
Johnston, D. W., Lee, W., Shah, C., Shields, M. A., & Spinks, J. (2014). Are neighbourhood characteristics important in predicting the post-school destinations of young Australians?
Adelaide: National Centre for Vocational Education Research. https://www.ncver.edu.au/
Kessler, R. C., & Greenberg, D.F. (1981) Linear panel analysis. New York: Academic Press.
Khattab, N. (2014). How and when do educational aspirations, expectations and achievement align? Sociological Research Online, 19(4) doi:10.5153/sro.3508
Kirk, C. M., Lewis, R. K., Scott, A., Wren, D., Nilsen, C., & Colvin, D. Q. (2012). Exploring the educational aspirations-expectations gap in eighth grade students: Implications for educational interventions and school reform. Educational Studies, 38(5), 507-519. doi:10.1080/03055698.2011.643114
Koshy, P. (2016). Student Equity Performance in Australian Higher Education: 2008 to 2015, National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, Curtin University. Perth,. Retrieved from: https://www.ncsehe.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Student-Equity-Performance-in-Australian-Higher-Education-2008-to-2015_FINAL.pdf
Lamb, S., Jackson, J., Walstab, A., & Huo, S. (2015). Educational opportunity in Australia 2015: Who succeeds and who misses out. Melbourne: Mitchell Institute. Retrieved from http://www.mitchellinstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Educational-opportunity-in-Australia-2015-Who-succeeds-and-who-misses-out-19Nov15.pdf
MuthÃ©n, L. K., MuthÃ©n B. O. (1998-2016) Mplus user's guide. Los Angeles: MuthÃ©n & MuthÃ©n.
Naylor, R., Baik, C., & James, R. (2013). Developing a critical interventions framework for advancing equity in Australian higher education. Canberra, DIICCSRTE. Retrieved from https://www.ncsehe.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Critical-Interventions-Framework-20-August-2013.pdf
Parker, S., Stratton, G., Gale, T., Rodd, P., & Sealey, T. (2013). Higher Education and Student Aspiration: A survey of the adaptive preferences of Year 9 students in Corio, Victoria. VIC: Deakin University. Retrieved from http://dro.deakin.edu.au/eserv/DU:30064919/parker-highereducation-2013.pdf
Perry, L. B., & McConney, A. (2013). School socioeconomic status and student outcomes in reading and mathematics : A comparison of Australia and Canada. Australian Journal of Education, 57(2), 124-140. doi:10.1177/0004944113485836
Perry, L. B., & Southwell, L. (2013). Access to academic curriculum in Australian secondary schools: A case study of a highly marketised education system. Journal of Education Policy. 29(4), 467-485.
Rampino, T., & Taylor, M. (2012). Educational aspirations and attitudes over the business cycle
(No. 2012-26). ISER Working Paper Series. Retrieved from https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/publications/working-papers/iser/2012-26.pdf
Regional Development Commissions Act. (1993). Regional Development Commissions Act-1993. Retrieved from https://www.slp.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_11583_homepage.html
Rosenbaum, P. R., & Rubin, D. B. (1983). The central role of the propensity score in observational studies for causal effects. Biometrika, 70, 41-55.
Satorra, A. (2000). Scaled and adjusted restricted tests in multi-sample analysis of moment structures. In D.D.H. Heijmans, D.S.G. Pollock, & A. Satorra (Eds.), Innovations in multivariate statistical analysis (pp. 233-247). US: Springer
Sellar, S., & Gale, T. (2011). Mobility, aspiration, voice: A new structure of feeling for
student equity in higher education. Critical Studies in Education, 52(2), 115-134.
St. Clair, R., Kintrea, K., & Hourston, M. (2013). Silver bullet or red herring? New evidence on the place of aspirations in education. Oxford Review of Education 39(6), 719-738.
Taylor, J., Borlagdan, J., & Allan, M. (2012). Turning 21: Life chances and uncertain transitions. Fitzroy: Brotherhood of St Laurence. Retrieved from acys.info/documents/42/05_Allan_v32n3_2013.pdf
Thoemmes, F. (2012). Propensity score matching in SPSS. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1201/1201.6385.pdf
Universities Australia. (2017). Higher education and research facts and figures. Canberra: Universities Australia. Retrieved from https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/australias-universities/key-facts-and-data#.WYlif1FrHIU
Webb, S., Black, R., Morton, R., Plowright, S., & Roy, R. (2015).Geographical and place dimensions of post-school participation in education and work. NCVER, Adelaide.
Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (2000). Expectancyâ€“value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 68-81.
Willis, S., & Joschko, L. (2012). A â€˜high quality, high accessâ€™ university that aims to marry excellence and equity. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 14, 8-26.
Yuan, K., & Bentler, P. M. (2000). Three likelihood-based methods for mean and covariance structure analysis with nonnormal missing data. Sociological Methodology, 30, 165-200. doi:10.1111/0081-1750.00078
- 20-07-2018 (2)
- 26-11-2017 (1)
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2017 Australian and International Journal of Rural Education
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors contributing to The Australian and Internation Journal of Rural Education agree to publish their articles under a Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 license, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially, under the condition that appropriate credit is given, that a link to the license is provided, and that you indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to The Australian and Internation Journal of Rural Education.
Manuscripts submitted for publication should not have been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. It is the responsibility of authors to secure release of any copyright materials included in their manuscripts, and to provide written evidence of this to the editors.
Papers are accepted on the understanding that they are subject to editorial revision. The Editorial Committee cannot guarantee that all contributions will be published nor give definite dates of publication. However, contributors will be advised if their papers are not accepted or if there will be a long publication delay.