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Developing conceptual understandings of the capacity to aspire for higher education

Prodonovich, S., Perry, L.B. and Taggart, A. (2014) Developing conceptual understandings of the capacity to aspire for higher education. Issues in Educational Research, 24 (2). pp. 174-189.



This paper reviews research and theory relating to aspirations for higher education as a cultural capacity. Understanding the social and cultural dimensions of aspirations for higher education is important as they are increasingly becoming part of social commentary and more recently educational policy, research and practice. This paper synthesises the empirical literature, conceptual understandings and theory relating to aspirations as a capacity in a way that will be useful to others who are engaged in practical initiatives and research targeting educational equity. We focus on recent and current developments regarding the capacity to aspire as a conceptual framework, analyse studies that evaluate programs based on the capacity to aspire, and consider what evidence and lessons can be used in current and future equity initiatives. This paper draws on the authors’ current research about the educational and career aspirations of students from under-represented backgrounds in higher education.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Vice Chancellery
School of Education
Publisher: Institutes for Educational Research
Publisher's Website:
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