The Mitchell Institute continues its excellent work with Educational opportunity in Australia 2015: Who succeeds and who misses out.
According to the authors, this is one of the most comprehensive data studies undertaken into Australia’s education and training system. Prepared by the Centre for International Research on Education Systems (CIRES) for the Mitchell Institute.
Their published fact-sheets are an excellent summary for practitioners wishing to participate in the policy debate.
This study draws together information on the opportunities being provided to young Australians as they negotiate the various stages of education and training and attempt to establish themselves in the workforce during their transition to adulthood.
Four milestones are used, constructed as an index of opportunity. For the early years the milestone is the proportion of children who are developmentally ready at the point of entry to school, as measured across five domains: physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, and communication skills. For the middle years it is the proportion of Year 7 students who meet or exceed international proficiency standards in academic skills. For the senior school years it is the proportion of young people who have completed school and attained a Year 12 certificate or equivalent. For early adulthood it is the percentage of 24-year-olds who are fully engaged in education, training or work.
At each milestone most young people are succeeding but some are missing out – insufficiently prepared to take on the challenges of the following stages of their lives.
- Over three-quarters (78 per cent) of Australian learners meet the designated milestone at the point of entry to school, and arrive at school ready to succeed in their learning.
- Boys are 1.82 times more likely to miss this milestone than girls (28.2 per cent vs 15.7 per cent).
- Indigenous learners are 2.07 times more likely to miss the milestone than non-Indigenous learners (43.2 per cent vs 20.9 per cent), but can have other attributes that support school readiness and later learning.
- About 26 per cent of young people do not attain a Year 12 or Certificate III equivalent by age 19.
- State and territory differences in attainment largely reflect population differences, geography and remoteness, but also policy differences related to schooling and programs.
- Location is strongly linked to Year 12 attainment. Remote and very remote communities have high numbers of young people not completing – 56.6 per cent and 43.6 per cent respectively.
- Year 12 attainment among 19-year-olds varies substantially by socio-economic background. The SES gap is a much as 28 percentage points between highest and lowest. About 40 per cent of young people from the lowest SES backgrounds do not complete Year 12 or its equivalent by age 19. Indigenous students have low rates of completion.
- The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students is over 40 percentage points.