Do peer effects mediate the association between family socio-economic status and educational achievement?

Jenny Chesters, Anne Daly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Differences in levels of academic achievement according to socio-economic status (SES), and parental education in particular, have been a persistent feature of Australian education systems. Young people with highly educated parents are more likely than their peers with low-educated parents to attain high levels of achievement at school. Students with low levels of achievement are less likely than their high achieving peers to complete Year 12 and are more likely to experience negative post-school outcomes. The SES of the neighbourhood, and in particular, the school attended, has also been found to have an effect on levels of both academic achievement and attainment. For this paper, we conduct analyses of National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy test scores for four cohorts of secondary school students attending government schools in the Australian Capital Territory to examine the associations between parental education, school attended and levels of educational achievement. Our findings show that students with university-educated parents achieve at much higher levels than their peers with low-educated parents and that attending a school with a higher proportion of students from educationally disadvantaged families has a negative effect on educational achievement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-77
Number of pages13
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


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