Julia Gillard wants to to increase the number of low SES students, and to improve their pass and retention rates. The government has now proposed a number of ‘equity’ policies to achieve these goals.
In this week’s Campus Review I argue (try here if the CR link does not work) that we could be headed for an unfair equity policy.
Part of the problem is that though the government is seeking to replace the current postcode-based measure of SES, probably with individual measures such as parental education, it is still talking about classifying the lowest 25% as ‘low SES’. What I show in the CR article, principally using NAPLAN results, is that lowest 25% is a highly arbitrary cut-off point. People above and below it have very similar (and not especially good) levels of academic performance.
This wouldn’t necessarily matter much, except for the fact that under the government’s policies individual benefits will attach to a low SES classification. Continue reading “An unfair university equity policy?”