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Access to academic curriculum in Australian secondary schools: A case study of a highly marketised education system

Perry, L.B. and Southwell, L. (2013) Access to academic curriculum in Australian secondary schools: A case study of a highly marketised education system. Journal of Education Policy, 29 (4). pp. 467-485.

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Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2013.846414
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Abstract

This study examines how access to academic curriculum differs between secondary schools in Australia, a country whose education system is marked by high levels of choice, privatisation and competition. Equitable access to academic curriculum is important for both individual students and their families as well as the larger society. Previous research has shown that students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to study academic curriculum than their more advantaged peers. Less is known, however, about the extent to which this pattern is related to differential provision of curriculum between schools. We found that low socio-economic schools offer students less access to the core academic curriculum subjects that are important for university entry. We also found that the breadth and depth of courses offered is related to school sector (private or public) and socio-economic context. Previous research has shown that choice and competition are inequitable because they frequently increase school social segregation and ‘cream-skimming’. Our findings show another inequitable consequence, namely that choice and competition limit access to high-status academic curriculum in working-class communities.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Copyright: © 2013 Taylor & Francis
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/19175
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