Equity indicators: measures of socio-economic status at an Australian university

Sinclair, G, Doughney, J and Palermo, J 2003, 'Equity indicators: measures of socio-economic status at an Australian university', Journal of Institutional Research, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 74-93.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Equity indicators: measures of socio-economic status at an Australian university
Author(s) Sinclair, G
Doughney, J
Palermo, J
Year 2003
Journal name Journal of Institutional Research
Volume number 12
Issue number 1
Start page 74
End page 93
Total pages 20
Publisher Australasian Association for Institutional Research
Abstract After reviewing relevant literature on socio-economic status (SES) and the ways in which it is used for higher education institutional research and policy, a detailed data analysis of Victoria University (Australia) student data was undertaken. Between 10,000 and 15,000 domestic student addresses were 'geocoded' to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) collection district level. A survey of individual re-enrolling 2001 students that included parental occupation and education data was also analyzed. The most important findings were: (1) The debate for practical reasons tends to focus on area versus individual measures, but SES is a richer and more complex subject and must be acknowledged as such. (2) It is apparent that VU's student catchment is on average of lower SES than the Melbourne average, using various area measures of SES, including the DEST-Martin indicators. (3) There is only a very small difference between average area SES measures at the collection district and the postcode level. In practical terms this means that the postcode method is adequate, as well as being cheaper and more efficiently obtained, for analyzes at an aggregated (or average) level. (4) Individual surveys of students do not prima facie add to the quality of aggregated institution level SES results delivered by area analyzes. This again suggests that the postcode method is best for practical reasons.
Copyright notice © 2003 the Author/s
ISSN 1322-4298
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