The spatial implications of academic achievement in Year 12 : rethinking discourses of disadvantage in rural locations

Jenny Dean, Philip Roberts, Natalie Downes, Ada Goldsmith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Rurality is an identified point of disadvantage in measures such as the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) and school resourcing models. However, socioeconomic disadvantage is commonly used as an explanation for lower average student achievement in rural locations. Thus, policies are often directed towards reducing disadvantage associated with socioeconomic status, and rurality is overlooked. This research tests the validity of these assumptions using a matched study approach. We examine data on New South Wales (NSW) students, schools and courses to investigate how the English and Mathematics achievement levels of students in their final year of secondary school are associated with family and school characteristics across locations. The findings show that socioeconomic variation does not fully account for differences in achievement in rural locations. Instead, rurality appears to mediate other effects on student achievement in a complex interplay of factors contributing to lower average results. This highlights the need to consider the specificities of rurality in schooling, particularly the role of rural knowledges and perspectives in schooling and student achievement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-114
Number of pages21
JournalAustralian Journal of Education
Volume67
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

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