NATSEM Seminar Series

Education Inequality in Australia: The Effects of Location, Schooling Arrangements and Family Context on Indigenous School Achievement

Tue 9 July 2019Jenny Dean / 12:00pm - 1:00pmSeminar Room 2, Building 24, University of Canberra


This presentation will outline results from research examining factors influencing Indigenous children’s primary school achievement in Australia. While Australia is regarded as a wealthy country, neither educational opportunities nor outcomes are distributed evenly, and research has shown that low levels of education are likely to be retained across generations, particularly for the most socioeconomically disadvantaged in society. In particular, profound levels of educational inequality have been observed for Indigenous Australians, where the colonial experience has resulted in overwhelming and ongoing challenges.

This study uses a structural, relational framework to explore the importance of location, schooling arrangements and segregation in influencing children’s school achievement. The study uses microdata from large-scale secondary sources to support the analyses, focussing on mean school achievement of children in primary school (Year 5). The main data sources include small area level and supporting data from the 2011 Population Census and school characteristics and outcomes data from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), with data merged using the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN). The seminar will outline results from the research, the limitations of data sources as well as the challenges in undertaking small area analyses of Indigenous Australians.


Jenny Dean is currently finalising a PhD thesis in the Faculty of Education at the University of Canberra on the topic of Indigenous primary school achievement. She was previously employed in the Department of Education in the development of the Council of Australian Government’s universal access to preschool and Indigenous Closing the Gap agendas and prior to this was with the Australian Bureau of Statistics in various fields of data analysis, education and social survey development. Her research interests include education of First Peoples, equity in Australian schooling and the sociology of education.


This event is free to attend. You are welcome to forward this invitation to any interested guests.

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