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How do school resources and academic performance differ across Australia’s rural, regional and metropolitan communities?

Sullivan, K., Perry, L.B. and McConney, A. (2013) How do school resources and academic performance differ across Australia’s rural, regional and metropolitan communities? The Australian Educational Researcher, 40 (3). pp. 353-372.

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This study uses data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to gain a better understanding of how academic performance and resources vary across rural–urban school communities in Australia. While it is well known that schools in rural areas have difficulty recruiting and retaining teachers, the degree to which schools in larger sized communities across Australia also face this problem is less understood. Moreover, very little is known about the degree to which shortages of instructional materials and equipment are associated with rural–urban location. The analysis includes 353 schools across eight community types that range in size of <1,000 people in small country towns to more than a million people in large capital cities. School principals reported the degree to which instruction in their school is hindered by a shortage of resources, which include qualified teaching staff and instructional materials and equipment. The findings highlight the extent to which school resources vary across geographic location, as reported by school principals. Principals of schools in the centre of large cities were the least likely to report that shortages of teaching staff or instructional materials hinder learning, while principals in rural and remote communities were the most likely to report that such shortages hinder instruction. These differences closely mirror student PISA academic performance and school socioeconomic composition. PISA data indicates that schools located in small rural communities have the lowest socioeconomic profiles, the lowest academic performance and the largest shortages of teaching staff and instructional materials, while schools in central neighborhoods of large cities enjoy the highest socioeconomic profiles, the highest academic performance and the fewest shortages.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: 2013 The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc.
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