School selectivity and the socioeconomic and academic stratification of schools in metropolitan Sydney and Melbourne

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Tham, Melissa (2021) School selectivity and the socioeconomic and academic stratification of schools in metropolitan Sydney and Melbourne. Working Paper. Centre for International Research on Education Systems, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

Abstract

Socioeconomic and academic stratification are two forms of inequality produced through various mechanisms in Australia. This research focusses on one such mechanism, selective schooling in metropolitan Sydney and Melbourne. Unlike ordinary government schools that enrol students based on their residential location, entry into selective schools is determined by students’ academic performance in competitive entrance exams. Sydney and Melbourne have the most selective schools in Australia, but the two systems vary in terms of the number of selective schools and the selection mechanisms used. This research utilises administrative data to map and compare the socioeconomic profiles and academic performance of fully and partially selective schools, as well as private and non-selective government schools using a framework of geographical local markets, or school ‘clusters’. The findings reveal social and academic stratification associated with school selectivity. Fully selective schools enrol the highest proportions of socioeconomically advantaged students and are the highest performing, followed by private and partially selective schools. Non-selective government schools have the lowest share of advantaged students and are the lowest performing. It is argued that selective schooling reconfigures the socioeconomic composition of students at a system level across both metropolitan contexts, as well as within local school markets. These stratification effects highlight that selective schooling, as they operate in both metropolitan contexts, does little to provide a fair opportunity for all students.

Additional Information

Working Paper 02/2021

Item type Monograph (Working Paper)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/42148
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Historical > FOR Classification > 1605 Policy and Administration
Current > Division/Research > Centre for International Research on Education Systems (CIRES)
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