eCite Digital Repository

Transitions to tertiary education: Measuring and minimising inequality between private and public school students in a university outreach program


McKenzie, L and Crawford, N and Jaquet, A, Transitions to tertiary education: Measuring and minimising inequality between private and public school students in a university outreach program, Journal of Academic Language & Learning, 7, (1) pp. 40-60. ISSN 1835-5196 (2013) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 L. McKenzie, N. Crawford & A. Jaquet

Official URL:


Much of the literature concerned with evaluating public and private schooling focuses upon year 12 examination results. Investigating the transition to university, some studies have compared these results with first-year university marks. Very few researchers, however, have looked beyond students' marks. This paper examines how "school type" affects student performance, participation, and experience in a university outreach program SmARTS. SmARTS is run through The University of Western Australia's (UWA) Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (FAHSS). It engages year 11 students in a six-month research project, facilitated by the use of both e-learning and more traditional face-to-face methods. This paper is based on research that evaluated the 2009, 2010, and 2011 programs. The methods employed include analyses of student completion rates and results, as well as 198 student surveys, ten school coordinator surveys, and three group interviews with tutors. Based on schools' socio-economic backgrounds, fees, and examination results, we have divided schools into four types: top-tier private, second-tier private, top-tier public, and second-tier public. Our findings suggest that top-tier private and top-tier public school students have the highest levels of participation, the lowest drop-out rates, and gain the highest results in SmARTS, while the opposite is evident for second-tier public school students. We also found, however, that second-tier public school students reported to have gained more generic skills from the program than did other groups. Our findings suggest that analysing examination results provides only a limited picture of how students experience the transition to university. We argue that through research and practice such as ours, inequalities can be more accurately measured, and thus minimised, before students enter university.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:private schools, public schools, inequality, blended learning, e-learning, online learning, secondary education, tertiary education, university outreach
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Other education
Research Field:Other education not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Learner and learning
Objective Field:Learner and learning not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Crawford, N (Dr Nicole Crawford)
ID Code:85949
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2013-08-16
Last Modified:2018-04-06
Downloads:233 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page