Higher Education Equity Literature Database

  • Access to Australian Higher Education for Equity Groups

    Themes:

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    lensHigher Education
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    This blog post is part of the Gonski Institute for Education’s open access annotated bibliography (OAAB) series, a project led by Dr Sally Baker. OAABs offer a snapshot of some of the available literature on a particular topic. The literature is curated by a collective of scholars who share an interest in equity in education. These resources are intended to be shared with the international community of researchers, students, educators and practitioners. The literature has been organised thematically according to patterns that have emerged from a deep and sustained engagement with the various fields.

  • Access to higher education in South Africa: A social realist account

    Date: 2014

    Author: Leibowitz, B.; Bozalek, S.

    Location: South Africa

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    Context: Explores access to HE in South Africa 20 years after end of Apartheid. Notes issues of racial categories used in SA (harking back to Apartheid days). SA has major issues with inequality and poverty, with considerable inequality evident in school results and access to HE (see p.94-5). SA has 3-tiered university system: Research Intensive, Comprehensive & Technology universities; also = layer of historical d.
    Aim: To describe issues in SA society and school system that perpetuates unequitable access to HE; to "present an overview of the educational context in South Africa and the challenges that it faces" (p.92)
    Theoretical frame: Draws on social realist account (Archer, 1995), namely 'morphogenetic' analysis, to make sense of openings and constraints for social transformation. Social domain comprises = structure, agency, culture (structure and culture = objective; human interaction with structure and culture can lead to change (morphogenesis) or no change (morphostasis)
    Methodology: Reports on NRF- funded project on structure, culture and agency that explored issues of teaching and academic development in SA HE. Draws on variety of sources including national documents, policies, websites and interviews with middle management person with responsibility for policy and strategy at 8 SA universities (range of types).
    Findings: Policy level (conceived as structures/ enactment of culture) - traces developments in positioning of equity/ access from 1997 to 2012. Boughey & Bozalek (2012) argue that policy trends in neoliberal context = 'apolitical' and lead to morphostasis.
    Responses to national policy: draws on interview data and includes topics such as Extended Curriculum Programmes (ECPs), bridging programs and bursaries. Some universities engage in innovative and targeted outreach (e.g. weekend classes at rural/ working class schools, school visits, disseminating recruitment materials) - but not much evaluation of this WP work, with exception of ECP. The lack of success = "A key reason why this is so, is that these schemes do not speak to the broader systemic features of society including
    structure and culture, which might influence how transformation does or does not occur, and they don't take into sufficient account how individuals and groups of individuals might exercise their own agency to influence how the policies are interpreted and implemented" (p.102). Meso level (culture) = analysis of 21 universities suggests little public positioning on WP and if it is there, it is buried in section on admissions. Analysis of talk from participants on widening access showed interesting diversity: in historically disadvantaged universities, the use of terms/ nomenclature =of less concern; in historically advantaged universities = concern with defining and measuring disadvantage. Discussion of targeted approaches (e.g. only offering places to black students), but authors note how this can play out in less equitable ways (see p.103).
    Core argument: Nature of political settlement (playing out at structural and cultural levels) maintains inequity because privileged institutions are privileged by 'predatory elites'. In SA, treatment of issue of race = important and difficult. Students vote with their feet, meaning that structural efforts (policy/ funding) perpetuate stratification of universities in terms of balance of different types of students served.

  • Access, Aspiration and Attainment: Foundation Studies at the University of South Australia.

    Date: 2015

    Author: Klinger, C.; Murray, N.

    Location: Australia

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    Context: Authors highlight UniSA's long history of widening participation, related to Denise Bradley's tenure as VC from 1997-2007. Discussion of evolution of Foundation Studies, which they argue is the most prominent example of UniSA's WP commitment. Authors describe the diversity of the enabling education field, saying "it comes in numerous flavours and, given that no standard model exists, it can be difficult to generalise from one setting to another" (p.139). Authors cite figures that show 55% of Foundation Studies students were from equity backgrounds, compared with 42.5% of institutional average in 2006-2008 (mostly low SES, NESB and r&r). Authors argue that FS "enables students not just by providing a means of access to university but, in particular, by actively preparing them for success in their future undergraduate studies - an approach emphasised in Tinto's (2008) admonition that 'access without support is not opportunity'" (p.141). Authors describe FS in detail
    Aim: To describe Foundation Studies program at UniSA
    Methodology: Essay

  • Accessing and assessing appropriate widening participation data: An exploration of how data are used and by whom

    Date: 2017

    Author: Holland, N., Houghton, A., Armstrong, J.; Mashiter, C.

    Location: United Kingdom

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    Context: The Dearing Report (1997) incentivised higher education institutions (HEI) to 'demonstrate a commitment to widening participation, and have in place a participation strategy, and mechanisms for monitoring progress' and called for the 'creation of a framework for data about lifelong learning, using unique student record number'. Currently in England, HEI's wishing to charge _9000 or more in fees must produce an institutional access agreement that includes evidence of progress against institutionally set targets relating to WP recruitment, retention and progression. According to the ministerial guidance to OFFA, there needs to be a commitment to basing decisions about WP on evaluation and evidence.
    Aim: To review the current use of data for monitoring and evaluating WP activities in the UK.
    Theoretical frame: None
    Methodology: Review of literature
    Findings: The review identified the following common issues with WP data in the UK:
    Policy change and changing definitions: Changes in government policy have implications for the way categories of targets groups are constructed. Changing definitions can prevent longitudinal analysis and can be a frustration in terms of communicating criterion changes to schools and checking eligibility of participants, which has implications for the robustness of targeting. A further frustration is that gaining access to consistent government data about schools is hindered by frequent changes to the format of data sources and tools.
    Assessing social class: There are debates about the accuracy, relevance and robustness of many proxies used to indicate social class, such as parental occupation, household income and previous education experience. For example, the reliability of using postcode data as a proxy for disadvantage has been questioned due to specificities and anomalies associated with particular areas. There is also concern over the accuracy of data which relies on student or parent self-completion. Problems occur because the categories provided are open to interpretation and the guidance provided is typically brief. There is also considerable suspicion and resistance from parents to providing financial information, and this may particularly be the case for some ethnic and religious groups. For example, a review of Lancaster Medical School application process found that a high percentage of students withheld financial information, and that this was more pronounced for certain groups (eg students from Asian/Pakistani backgrounds). There are also privacy concerns around asking for financial information from students on evaluation forms where other students may see their answers. Finally, issues were identified with some students, parents and teachers 'cheating the system' by providing information they think would make them eligible for WP activities.
    Assessing disability: Disability data is often based on self-declaration during undergraduate application process with UCAS where students may choose not to disclose for a variety of reasons. Decisions about identifying with the disability label appear to be related to fear of discrimination, especially for students with mental health conditions.
    Evaluation of WP activities: A lack of consistency in evaluation approaches across the sector was identified. For instance, a review of feedback forms used for Lancaster University OFFA-funded projects revealed considerable diversity in the focus and wording of questions, preventing analysis at the institutional level. There is a growing interest in the sector in the use of qualitative data gathered through focus groups and interviews as well as creative new approaches such as photo elicitation or naturalistic data generated during activities.
    Core argument: Attempts to use data to establish casual links between WP activities and student awareness, aspiration, access and achievement are not straightforward. Collection of WP data is often dependent on individual self-disclosure and should thus be considered carefully for accuracy and the potential for misunderstanding and manipulation. The most pressing issues identified were the absence of a unique learner number recognised across different educational sectors and limitations associated with accuracy of different data sources resulting from a multiplicity of definitions, sensitivity around certain information and the reliability and relevance of claims based on data. While metrics based on numerical data are valuable, we should move to supplement these with more qualitative research for assessing the effectiveness of WP activities.

  • Accessing HE for Non-traditional Students: 'Outside of my position'

    Date: 2014

    Author: Webber, L.

    Location: United Kingdom

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    Context: UK pre-undergraduate space. Examines admissions to Early Childhood foundation degree - scopes context of foundation degrees as response to Leith report but notes "there is a lack of understanding about how institutions might need to change to accommodate [widening participation]" (p.91). Author = programme manager of Early Childhood foundation degree - set unwritten rule that all applicants need interview pre-enrolment (gatekeeper for drop out) - notes she may have "unconsciously adopted a deficit discourse, negatively positioning these students as likely to fail on the programme" (p.92), so interview = opportunity for non-traditional students to challenge that assumption.
    Aim:
    Theoretical frame: Bourdieu - capital, field, habitus
    Methodology: Narrative inquiry. Semi-structured interviews conducted with applicants (n=7); paper focuses on 3 participants in particular: Kat, Sarah and Chelsea. Data analysed with 'thematic approach'
    Findings:
    Kat = mature age student, had NVQ level 3 in childcare, FinF, mother, part-time work in preschool. Cried during admissions interview because of emotional strain of having to prove herself worthy
    Chelsea = 21 years old, preschool assistant, had A-levels and NVQ level 3, FinF but had partner who went through foundation degree in business
    Sarah = mature age, FinF, mother, had done NVQ level 3 as mature student.
    Emergent themes: emotions (author found this 'surprising'): "Students feel quite exposed and open to criticism, therefore seeing it as both labour intensive and emotionally challenging" (p.98). Positioning: 'high stocks of emotional capital' = give students confidence and a sense of worth; also discusses how students were positioned by others (e.g., example of Sarah's mother on p.100). Changing positions: author notes shifts in students' approaches/ confidence. Interview could be seen as offering inspiration to students (a sense of 'I can do this'). Accumulating capital: acquisition of study skills = reported by students; author argues that "through giving the students sufficient time and support, it could be argued that they were then in a more able position to accumulate capital and overcome any disadvantages once the programme had commenced" (p.102). However, Sarah dropped out, despite this 'accrual of capital'
    Core argument: Recommendations: 1) institutions need to work out how to value individual experience and strengths that students bring with; 2) locate the problem with the institution, not the individual; 3) there is power in the interview (to bring forward tacit strengths and offer a space for myths and assumptions to be challenged).

  • Acknowledging the affective in higher education

    Date: 2007

    Author: Beard, C.; Clegg, S.; Smith, K.

    Location: United Kingdom

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    Context: UK higher education and affective dimensions of teaching and learning
    Aim: To "make the case for working with a richer conception of students as affective, embodied selves" (p.235)
    Theoretical frame: Conceptualises higher education as beyond the rational; theorises student success as highly dependent on social integration (including affective dimensions). Rejects notions of higher education or student learning that are divorced from emotional domain. Draws on Archer's (2000) heuristic of emotion.
    Methodology: Literature review of emotion/ affect; account of phenomenological study with students (n =431; Beard, 2005), which had these aims:
    - "examine the role of socio-emotional climate and its role in enhancing the quality of student learning;
    - identify and map the emotional agenda of a broad student population;
    - offer guidance, advice and practical techniques for lecturers to support the student learning experience;
    - enhance student preparedness for lifelong learning and employability" (p.241).
    Data collection involved multiple tools: 'blank sheets' for recording positive and negative emotions, emotional mapping (ups and downs) over two semesters, analysis of lecturer behaviours, focus group interviews, writing for self-assessment/ reflection
    Findings: Literature review scopes the contested historical context of rational-emotional positions on higher education (e.g. Bloom et al., 1960s, Rogers, 1969; Furedi, 2004; Boler, 1999)- critique of therapeutic focus rather than pedagogic focus and gendered aspects (see Boler, 1999 for feminist critique of politics of emotion). Authors note expansion of intelligences (based on Goleman's work on multiple intelligences, including emotional intelligence) and shift to engagement models of learning (from transmission models). Archer (2000) offered typology of emotions, classified according to natural, practical and discursive orders - this helps to move thinking away from emotion as a thing that can be separated out for analysis.
    Empirical study: 'blank sheets' - positive emotions in early weeks = positive experiences of meeting new people, new experiences (especially potentially romantic relationships), but these were also experienced as anxiety-provoking (e.g. making new friends) - especially for mature students and NESB students - and missing home. Changes in personal life as result of university = both positive and negative. Good = having more freedom, being independent, excitement for future. Negative = money worries, increased responsibility, self-care.
    Week 7 S1: still talk of making new friends; students = feeling more comfortable and 'at home', academic relationships = forming. Some were still missing home and significant people not in same town (e.g. girl/boyfriends). Lots of pressure to conform/ fit in. Some issues due to different approaches to teaching and assessment. Students = better understanding of what = expected/ required with studies - students still expressed uncertainty about 'doing enough' (related to transition from A-levels) and getting down to 'work'. Some students also expressed apathy with regard to studies (e.g. not going/ falling asleep in lectures; see p.246)
    Week 7 S2: Students = feeling more confidence with studies post-exams/ assessments at end of S1; new choices of modules = positive for most students. Students = appreciated developing relationships with academics. On other hand, some students = concerned about feedback and assessment; some = still concerned with developing independence and motivation to study. Fatigue = issue this time of year (approx. March)
    Core argument: Students experience emotional journeys = affects all parts of their lives; data = shows "the importance of the affective, the bodily and sociality in relationship to their engagement with learning" (p.249)

  • Adaptability: does students' adjustment to university predict their mid-course academic achievement and satisfaction?

    Date: 2018

    Author: Holliman, A.; Sheriston, L.; Martin, A.; Collie, R.; Sayer, D.

    Location: United Kingdom Australia

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    Context: Students' adaptability, academic buoyancy ("ability to successfully navigate 'everyday' or
    low-level academic setbacks, challenges, adversities, and pressures", p.2), and academic motivation as predictors for mid-course achievement. Majority of research on adaptability has focused on school age children; authors thus identify higher education as a gap, with no research on whether adaptability being predictive of course satisfaction.
    Aim: To "examine the extent to which first-year university students' adaptability predicts their mid-course academic achievement and course satisfaction" (p.2). Two RQs presented on p.4:
    (1) What is the relationship between university students' adaptability, academic buoyancy, academic motivation, and their academic outcomes (mid-course academic achievement and satisfaction)?
    (2) Is university students' adaptability uniquely associated with their academic outcomes (mid-course academic achievement and satisfaction) beyond the influences of academic buoyancy and academic motivation?
    Theoretical frame: Psychological notion of 'adaptability': impact of adapting on achievement (e.g. Martin et al., 2013). "Adaptability focuses on the extent to which students are able to make the appropriate cognitive, behavioural, and emotional adjustments required to successfully navigate changing, novel, and uncertain circumstances or situations" (p.3)
    Methodology: Questionnaire using Adaptability scale (Martin et al., 2013); first-year Psychology students (n=90: 80%f, aged between 18-48).
    Findings:
    No significant results with regard to age, but some suggestion that women are less likely to feel able to cope with setbacks.
    Adaptability and motivation positively correlate with academic achievement and course satisfaction
    Predictors: adaptability = "a significant unique predictor of students' university academic achievement, such that beyond the effects of buoyancy and motivation, adaptability was a unique predictor of academic achievement" (p.7)
    Buoyancy and motivation = significant predictors for course satisfaction
    Core argument: "university students' adaptability was found to positively predict academic achievement, beyond the effects of academic buoyancy and academic motivation" (p.8)
    Implications: universities should "engage their students in a dialogue to help them understand all that university life brings" (p.8), with regard to the full gamut of experiences that students will need to adapt to. Martin et al. (2015) suggest 3 steps:
    "(a) help students first identify and recognise situations of change, uncertainty, and novelty that might require an appropriate regulatory response,
    (b) show students how to adjust their cognition, behaviour, and emotions to the demands of the situation, and
    (c) help students to recognise the importance of these regulatory responses with a view to sustaining them for future occasions when adaptability is required" (p.8).

  • Addressing male higher education progression: a profile of four successful projects

    Date: 2012

    Author: Raven, N.

    Location: United Kingdom

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    Context: Males from low SES areas participation/ retention in English higher education compared with higher SES males. Reasons for issues with male progression = "low educational attainment, a lack of aspirations and motivation, and inadequate information on educational progression" (p.60) - this work justifies specific attention/ specific interventions with men from poorer backgrounds
    Aim: To identify common characteristics of/ profile four innovative projects designed to support progression rates of low SES males
    Methodology: Followed up with project leads of four projects on supporting male progression, which were originally profiled in a HEA/ Aim Higher report 'Boys into HE Repository of Good Practice' (Raven, 2011). Author contacted the project leads and conducted interviews with them (see rationale on p.62)
    Four projects:
    1. Uni Sussex/ A suitable boy: p/ship 3 HEIs and 3 schools in Sussex + 30 'disaffected' Year 9 boys who had 'weak role-models' and anger/ truancy issues. Aim of program = 're-engage boys with their educational journeys'. Detail of program p.62-3. By time of update, program was being run by University of Brighton and included male mentors.
    2. Uni Derby/ Boys into HE: p/ship between uni + local schools from lower SES backgrounds who were considered to be underperforming (p.63). By time of update, numbers of participants had expanded and activities had evolved.
    3. By time of update, funding was taken over by local authority and cohort expanded to include low SES girls.
    4. Aimhigher Greater Manchester/ More than a game: + local HEIs + local football and cricket clubs (p.63-4). By time of update, activities made more distinctive from school activities and new speakers added. Similar program designed for girls.
    Common characteristics:
    - Learner-centred approach
    - School engagement
    - Working partnerships/ parental involvement
    - Role models
    - Multiple interventions/ cumulative approach/ accumulation of experience
    Core argument: In addition to the characteristics, these projects were not operating in a vacuum - project leads were aware of the other projects and "noted the value of networks of practitioners and the opportunities these afforded to share good practice" (p.70). The closure of AimHigher = noted as a disadvantage because of the absence of coordination and support left by their demise.

  • Adult Education, Social Inclusion and Cultural Diversity in Regional Communities

    Date: 2008

    Author: Townsend, R.

    Location: Australia

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    Context: Explores experiences of CALD students in Adult Continuing Education (ACE) in regional Victoria to "reveal how individuals can utilise adult education as a space to explore their own social and cultural isolation in a regional context" (abstract). Works from premise that adult learning spaces offer opportunities to explore 'social, cultural and economic experiences'. Location of research = rural/ agricultural area of north Victoria
    Aim: To present "research about adult education and training and its role in regional life for internal and international migrants" (p.74). CALD residents = internal mobility or international migration. Reasons for internal mobility suggested as searching for sense of 'place' and belonging (age-related transition). ACE in research site = specialized for particular groups (some for people with disabilities; one service for indigenous people; women interested in child care/ aged care/ home or community care). No providers purposefully targeting CALD population: "Such 'cultural blindness' by ACE programming in this regional community appears to result from a range of complex historical, population, social and economic factors" (p.79) - possibly a result of the area not being part of recent migration programs encouraging migrants to settle in the area. But support group started in 2006: "CALD groups carving out alternative social and economic networks highlights and reflects a community that is practised in protecting established networks rather than extending and nourishing them by embracing
    the real growth in diversity of the main communities in this Shire" (p.81)
    Methodology: Mixed methods: surveys and interviews of 15 CALD (past/current) ACE students = development of 'habitual narratives'. Also: focus groups with cultural support network and ESL leaners to evaluate impact of government policies/programs and interviews with ACE staff
    Findings: There are patterns in terms of migrat ion, internal mobility, social isolation and cultural identity. Common theme = sense of exclusion in regional communities ('social outsiders', p.75) - related to cultural identity (aka not WASP) and lack of employment opportunities.
    Students = suggest that they entered ACE 'searching' for " a 'place' to help sort out 'where to next'" (p.82).
    Older (more established in Australia) students appeared to find it easier to find what they wanted and "were more assertive about needs and more knowledgeable about how to go about locating resources to match their needs" (p.83) but they recognized that the standards were not high. Younger migrant women appear
    Adult learning environments (not all!) are designed/ run in such a way that excludes rather than includes CALD students
    Core argument: ACE can only help students to develop social capital if it recognises the diversity in its communities. Further research into social capital development is needed in metro and rural areas because low SES/ CALD students tend to use sporting and educational spaces for social networking

  • Adult Education, Social Inclusion and Cultural Diversity in Regional Communities

    Date: 2008

    Author: Townsend, R.

    Location: Australia

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    Context: Explores experiences of CALD students in Adult Continuing Education (ACE) in regional Victoria to "reveal how individuals can utilise adult education as a space to explore their own social and cultural isolation in a regional context" (abstract). Works from premise that adult learning spaces offer opportunities to explore 'social, cultural and economic experiences'. Location of research = rural/ agricultural area of north Victoria
    Aim: To present "research about adult education and training and its role in regional life for internal and international migrants" (p.74). CALD residents = internal mobility or international migration. Reasons for internal mobility suggested as searching for sense of 'place' and belonging (age-related transition). ACE in research site = specialized for particular groups (some for people with disabilities; one service for indigenous people; women interested in child care/ aged care/ home or community care). No providers purposefully targeting CALD population: "Such 'cultural blindness' by ACE programming in this regional community appears to result from a range of complex historical, population, social and economic factors" (p.79) - possibly a result of the area not being part of recent migration programs encouraging migrants to settle in the area. But support group started in 2006: "CALD groups carving out alternative social and economic networks highlights and reflects a community that is practised in protecting established networks rather than extending and nourishing them by embracing
    the real growth in diversity of the main communities in this Shire" (p.81)
    Methodology: Mixed methods: surveys and interviews of 15 CALD (past/current) ACE students = development of 'habitual narratives'. Also: focus groups with cultural support network and ESL leaners to evaluate impact of government policies/programs and interviews with ACE staff
    Findings: There are patterns in terms of migrat ion, internal mobility, social isolation and cultural identity. Common theme = sense of exclusion in regional communities ('social outsiders', p.75) - related to cultural identity (aka not WASP) and lack of employment opportunities.
    Students = suggest that they entered ACE 'searching' for " a 'place' to help sort out 'where to next'" (p.82).
    Older (more established in Australia) students appeared to find it easier to find what they wanted and "were more assertive about needs and more knowledgeable about how to go about locating resources to match their needs" (p.83) but they recognized that the standards were not high. Younger migrant women appear
    Adult learning environments (not all!) are designed/ run in such a way that excludes rather than includes CALD students
    Core argument: ACE can only help students to develop social capital if it recognises the diversity in its communities. Further research into social capital development is needed in metro and rural areas because low SES/ CALD students tend to use sporting and educational spaces for social networking

  • Adults Returning to Study Mathematics

    Date: 2008

    Author: Galligan, L.; Taylor, J.A.

    Location: Australia

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    Context: Focuses on adults returning to study mathematics 'out of necessity'. Looks at workplace and bridging/enabling course contexts. Offers definitions of 'numeracy' and 'mathematics' and reviews the literature and reviews on numeracy and mathematics in adult further education (including enabling programs and mathematics support) and community and workplace in Australasia.
    Aims: To review the Australasian literature on adults returning to mathematics either in workplace/community environments; in bridging/enabling programs; or in mathematics support (in tertiary education environments).
    Methodology: The parameters of the review excluded "research available on the traditional learning and teaching of mathematics in undergraduate courses and is thus focussed on mature students in university study rather than recent school leavers." (p. 108).
    Findings: "Adults studying in formal or informal numeracy programs learn more than mathematics skills. They encounter rich embedded numeracy tasks . . ." (p. 112). There is little to no mention of 'teaching practices' in the literature on adults returning to study in the tertiary sector. Refers to Taylor & Galligan's (2006) Four questions within enabling mathematics.
    Core Argument: Direct reference to enabling programs and Taylor & Galligan's (2006/5) "four questions" for enabling mathematics research/education.

  • Affective dimensions of teaching and doing development

    Date: 2018

    Author: Tschakert, P., Henrique, K. P., Bitmead, R., Dassu, F., Crowther, M., Yukhnevich, Z., Anderson, C., Roddy, A., Bye, V., Rawlinson, A., O'Hara, N., Mottershead, A., Obeng, J.; Gerard, K.

    Location: Australia

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    Context: Examines the role of emotions in development pedagogy and practice. The paper combines 'insights into discursive shifts regarding the role of affect in academia with a growing appreciation for the role of emotional labour in development practice - two bodies of knowledge that have so far existed largely in isolation from each other'. The authors define four entry points for their study: 'false binaries (male/female, ratio- nal/emotional; north/south, rich/poor, developed/developing and modern/traditional); engagement with the 'Other' (the quintessential development 'subject') and positionality (our own positionality as development scholars and future practitioners); embodied learning (creating spaces for bodily experiences) and post- development (engaging all our senses)'.
    Aim: To advance a pedagogy that accounts for emotional labour and production as well as embodied experience, and to 'make possible more humane, empowering and just development outcomes while [re-instilling] a sense of hope and purpose to students of international development who otherwise risk becoming jaded by the multifarious failures of development that transcend much of our critical reading material'. To legitimise a consideration of emotions within the classroom.
    Theoretical frame: Theory of emotions as well as affective theory grounded in feminist, post-colonial and post-structural theories. The authors note that 'the current mainstream educational model exemplifies the hegemony of neo-liberal paradigms', foregrounding 'content-matter dissemination and accountability (O'Brien, 2010), individual achievement and competitive economic agents (Vincent, 2004) and a "performative audit culture" (Comber and Nixon, 2011: 168) that demands standardisation, managerialism, and bureaucratisation'. This study seeks to challenge this neoliberal model to encourage moral, social and political pedagogic engagements to encourage students toward a critical, passionate, engaged and humanistic engagement with development.
    Methodology: Qualitative - paper draws on reflections from a dozen students, a tutor and two instructors in the Master of International Development (MID) at the University of Western Australia. Students were asked to reflect upon reading material in a 'personal manner by examining their own positionality vis-a-vis development work. This meant actively paying attention to and articulating, in writing, emotions such as joy, anger, fear, frustration and hope when processing the assigned articles. It also meant active listening to emotional reactions of their peers during class deliberations'.
    Findings: For the students and instructors involved in this MID and the guided reflections, 'the notion of development practice now carries more tangible meaning, anchored in the following six principles: (i) understanding the (discursive and material) creation of the 'Other' (subject-making processes) in everyday life, the class room, scholarly work, and in the field; (ii) being aware of our role and responsibility as development scholars and future practitioners in this complicity, as painful as it is; (iii) consciously working on ways to overcome processes of othering; (iv) disrupting the development gaze by shifting our own positionality in a whole-person sense; (v) engaging with all our senses, not just the intellect; and (vi) developing tolerance for ambiguity and difference'. Generally, students with majors outside of development studies were more reluctant to share their emotional reflections both in class and in writing. These students were also from predominantly Asian countries and 'demanded more hard evidence on the effectiveness of development interventions' which the authors posit 'perhaps...conceals a deeper albeit not tangibly articulated contestation of yet another intellectual imposition by western/northern development scholars'.
    Core argument: By demonstrating the importance of the affective aspects of 'doing development', students are prepared for future endeavours by placing front-and-centre their personal entanglements and the role of their emotions in how they position themselves, and others. This affective pedagogy enables socially aware and responsible learning. The authors also argue that by nurturing affect in teaching instructors are enabled to co-design a space where development is constructed not as charity, but as solidarity.

  • African Student Experience At University, a Paradigmatic Case Using Narrative Analysis

    Date: 2011

    Author: Lawson, L.; Ngoma, T.; Oriaje, K.

    Location: Australia

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    Context: Students from an African refugee background at QUT
    Aim: The intersection of HE experience in the transitions of young adult refugee learners, who are often negotiating culture shock and challenges to identity. This transition may be mediated without access to close family.
    Conclusions: Identity is a resource that refugees can beneficially use to negotiate their HE experience. Identity must be seen as a resource.
    Methodological comment: The single case study could be expanded to include the broad sample that was involved in the study. The author suggests that HE institutions should sponsor opportunities for students to 'showcase' their culture with the university community; yet it is not recognised that it is important not to assume that all students from HEB backgrounds necessarily relate to their 'African' culture in a particular way that needs showcasing.
    Core argument: What protective mechanisms do students put in place to negotiate barriers to access and participation in HE?

  • Age Differences Explain Social Class Differences in Students' Friendship at University: Implications for Transition and Retention

    Date: 2015

    Author: Rubin, M.;Wright, C.

    Location: Australia United States

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    Context: Based on idea that social integration = important for emotional and informational support at university, which helps students transition into higher education. Making friends is particularly important = Thomas (2012) suggests making friends at welcome lunch increases likelihood of retention and leads to "better learning, cognitive growth, critical thinking, personal and moral development, confidence, academic self-efficacy, and
    academic performance" (p.428). Works from limited research (including Rubin, 2012) that working class students have fewer friends
    Aim: Test of hypothesis that working class students have fewer friends and this is because lower SES students tend to be older than mid-SES
    Theoretical frame: Not specified in study
    Methodology: Quantitative: survey research at UON with 376 first year Psychology UG students (81% f; 19% m), with mean age of 22. Three scales of friendship used in survey design: Relevance of Friends to Identity scale, Openness to Friendships scale, and New Friends Concern scale
    Findings: Clear evidence of social class differences in friendship at university: "working-class students reported having fewer identity-relevant friends and regarded the friends that they did have as being less relevant to their identity" (p.434) and less open/ less concerned about making friends. Age = salient factor but not more or less important than other (untested) factors - see Rubin 2012.
    Core argument: Age should be taken into account when designing transition and retention activities: "A key
    implication of the present research is that arrangements for on-campus accommodation should take into account students' social class, age, and concomitant family commitments" (p.436); italics in original); universities should invest in accommodation for families to encourage students to live on campus.

  • Agents for Change: Applying Critical Pedagogy in Enabling Programs

    Date: 2015

    Author: Stokes, J.; Ulpen, T.

    Location: Australia

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    Context: Examines critical pedagogy in Foundation Studies (UniSA) enabling course, in context of widening participation to Australian higher education. Argues that enabling programs = "designed to support agency and inclusion" (p.59). Shared focus on praxis in Foundation Studies = "maintained through a continual process of practice, reflection and discussion, wherein teaching staff work together to ensure that content is valuable for students" (p.59)
    Theoretical frame: Critical pedagogy (Freire, 1994) and funds of knowledge (Moll et al., 1992)
    Methodology: Case study in practice in 3 programs: English Language Studies, Critical Literacy, University Studies (all = compulsory, but students choose either ELS or CL)
    Discussion: Authors note limitations of teaching in mainstream language, thus restricting possibilities for meaning making: "thus, the role and voices of minority language speakers have effectively been silenced and devalued" (p.60). Learning tasks in English Language Studies = "enable the students to think about the function and power language plays in their lives" (p.61) - to set learning goals, reflect on them (personalizing = enhances critical awareness) - critique the role of English in globalized world as homogenizer. In Critical Literacy, students work with multiple texts and critique purpose and messages conveyed, particularly through text analysis: "critical text analysis helps students understand issues of power and identify which groups are subjugated or oppressed for the benefit of others" (p.62). University Studies = students consider own learning experiences within limitations of system.
    Core Argument: Critical pedagogy "can support students to become more empowered to create change" (p.63). 'Acquiring' academic literacy = insufficient if not tied to personal meaning making and relevance.

  • All roads leading to Rome? The medium term outcomes of Australian youth's transition pathways from education

    Date: 2017

    Author: Cebulla, A.; Whetton, S.

    Location: Australia

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    Context: Post-education pathways taken by youth aged 15-24 years of age compared to pathways of youth aged 29-38.
    Aim: To explore the links between transition from education to employment pathways and graduate earnings, perception of employment opportunities, job satisfaction and debt.
    Methodology: Applied sequence analysis of Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey (2001-2014); built on Fry and Boulton's (2013) study, extending to include 14 years of data; n=20,000 households.
    Findings:
    - Fry and Boulton (2013) found that across all pathways, earnings and employment converged over time, however the most rewarding pathway was a combination of earning and work.
    - 24% of the sample of the HILDA survey in 2014 pursued a work and study to work pathway, where participants engaged in work and study equally.
    - 15% of the sample in 2014 pursued the work, with and without study, pathway, whereby study is the primary focus for the first 2-3 years followed by increased work and study.
    - 10% partook in the not in the labour force pathway, whereby they were not employed or in the labour work force.
    - 39% were in the "churning with work" pathway, where work was the primary focus.
    - The work, with and without study and churning with work pathways produced the highest 4 year average earnings 2009-2013.
    - The work and study to work pathway, whereby a higher educational qualification was obtained, did not enable them to match the earnings of work, with and without study group. This suggests that the returns of participating in higher education are in decline, where this group is "sandwiched" between a prioritised pool of top-graduates, post-graduates and the churning with work group, and then the HSC educated group moving from education to work.
    Core argument:
    Earnings for those churning with work or studying with an increasing amount of work were the highest among all 5 pathways. While transition pathways provide different earnings in the medium term, this difference does not impact on young peoples perception of employment opportunities or ability to pay bills. In the medium term, pathways that combined study and work (either with a strategy in mind, or as part of a work/study balance) appeared to be the most rewarding.
    "Currently being in work, higher education qualifications, good health and living in a coupled household without children most consistently 'explained' more positive outcomes, alongside having parents with higher
    occupational background and (in the case of unpaid bills) the absence of unpaid bills when last asked." (11)

  • Alternative pathways into university: Are tertiary preparation programs a viable option?

    Date: 2018

    Author: Chesters, J.; Rutter, K.; Nelson, K.; Watson, L.

    Location: Australia

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    Context: Widening participation initiatives have opened opportunity for higher education engagement for diverse cohorts of students, increasing the number of mature aged students and students entering university via 'non-traditional' pathways such as enabling programs, RPL and VET. _ of domestic students are aged over 24 when they enrol (p. 226), <50% enter using high school admissions qualifications (p. 227). Provides short literature overview of alternative pathways, focusing on factors contributing to retention and success. Suggests that prior research indicates that these 'non-traditional' students are less likely than 'traditional' students to be retained throughout their degree (EG: risk factors for attrition relating to admission via alternative entry, vocational qualification, low ATAR).
    Aim: To explore the impact the pathway into University may have on the achievement and attrition of students, using administrative data from a domestic commencing undergraduate student cohort.
    Methodology: Quantitative data analysis. Data source: administrative data for one cohort of commencing undergraduate students (domestic) (n=1738). At this university 51% of students enter via ATARs following high school completion and 16% via an on-campus enabling program. Variables = "pathway into university, academic achievement and progress" (p. 232).
    Findings: Students entering undergraduate study via an ATAR after Year 12 completion have a higher average GPA than those entering via other pathways (those entering with a VET qualification have the lowest average GPAs). Attrition is more likely in older students. Attrition is higher for students entering via mature-age/other pathway and VET than an on-campus enabling program. Attrition rates are higher amongst students with lower GPAs. Attrition was 1.7x likely amongst the Year 12 completer cohort and 2.5x more likely amongst the mature aged/other pathway than the on-campus enabling cohort.
    Core Argument: Students entering undergraduate study via an on-campus undergraduate program are more likely to be retained on average than those entering via other pathways and high school, although they are likely to have lower GPAs on average when compared to those entering from high school with an ATAR. Therefore it does not necessarily correlate that students who come from 'non-traditional pathways are more likely to discontinue their study or perform poorly.

  • An Australian study of graduate outcomes for disadvantaged students

    Date: 2019

    Author: Pitman, T.; Roberts, L.; Bennett, D.; Richardson, S.

    Location: Australia

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    Context: Dearth of attention to graduate outcomes in equity research/ practice/ policy. Equity in higher education/ massification framed as both social justice and social mobility (human capital). The overwhelming focus of equity policy has been on the inputs side of HE; that is, increasing aspirations for, and access to, HE (p.46), with some focus on attainment. Overall, equity policy has prioritized enrolments over graduate outcomes, resulting in a general assumption that increased access and participation for disadvantaged students will lead, ipso facto, to consequential post-graduation benefits (p.46).
    Literature review: most research focuses on first job post-study (Cai, 2013)
    Students who study in elite institutions generally go on to higher-level occupations and higher salaries (Power & Whitty, 2008; Britton et al., 2016 both UK studies).
    Gendered implications with women earning significantly less than male peers
    Aim: To use national data to investigate relationships between disadvantage and graduate outcomes; to provide critical insights into how access to higher education does, or does not, lead to improvements in post-graduation equity (abstract); to look more critically at the factors that influence post-graduation outcomes for disadvantaged students and how these factors work in combination to aid or hinder success (p.46).
    Theoretical frame:
    Methodology: Quantitative analysis of 2014 Australian Graduate Survey data (n= 142,647) according to disadvantage (using 6 formally identified equity groups) and employability. The probability of each outcome
    was estimated using three sets of predictors:
    (1) Demographic Age, gender, disability, Indigenous status, first language, place of birth, SES, state of residence, place of residence (metropolitan-regional)
    (2) Educational Institution group, institution location (metropolitan/regional), level of study, broad field of education, mode of study, type of fees paid
    (3) Educational experience Satisfaction, generic skills, graduate qualities, work during final year of study (p.48)
    Findings:
    Paid work in final year of study: single most important factor in predicting employment 46 months after graduation, especially for students with a disability = 15 times more likely to be in full-time employment and 11.6 times more likely to be in part-time work. Similar patterns observed with Indigenous students, especially with regard to self-employment.
    p.49
    Students who studied full-time/ on campus = less likely to find work post-graduation (perhaps because = more difficult to take on paid work with those modes of study).
    Students most likely to be paid working in final year = from regional areas and low SES and/or Indigenous: 60% were still working for same employer after graduation, 2/3 of whom were not seeking alternative employment. Majority of the 60% said their qualification was somewhat or not useful for their employment suggesting a continuation of existing work that is unrelated to degree. Most likely to use qualification/ report qual as useful = Indigenous (31%); least likely = WINTA (21%): This last finding is perhaps surprising as it suggests that women enrolling in science, engineering and IT-related courses are, in general, not securing positions relevant to their expertise (p.49).
    Type of work:
    p.50.
    First full-time job = highest for NESB (57.7%), WINTA (56.5%); least likely for Indigenous (30.9%)
    More than half WINTA and NESB = in industry/ commerce
    Indigenous graduates most likely to be working in public sector
    (1) Indigenous graduates earned more than any other group of graduates analysed in this study, both in full-time and part-time employment.
    (2) Regional graduates earned above the median wage in both full-time and part-time employment.
    (3) Low-SES graduates out-performed other graduates in terms of part-time employment salary, but in full-time employment they earned below the median wage.
    (4) Graduates from non-English-speaking backgrounds and women graduating from nontraditional disciplines performed the worst of all groups, earning well-below median wages in both full- and part-time employment.
    (5) WINTA graduates were the only cohort who recorded more people in part-time than full-time employment (p.52).
    Median salary = $50,000
    Indigenous graduates = best employment outcomes (security of tenure, median salary, proportion of graduates earning $70,000 or above and relevance of qualification to employment)
    Regional students = second best outcomes
    Low SES students = mixed outcomes
    NESB = poor graduate outcomes compared with other equity groups
    Poorest outcomes = WINTA (well below median salaries)
    Core argument: HE outcomes are not equal for all students and that HE disadvantage persists, to varying degrees, for many groups of students after they have completed their studies (p.53)
    Indigenous students struggle with entry and participation but do well with graduate outcomes.
    WINTA and NESB struggle with both entry and graduate outcomes.
    Authors also point to limitations in the methodology of the survey.