Equity in education matters because it improves the quality of life of individuals, supports social mobility, and reduces public costs to society. Moreover, it matters because the Australian public, including young people themselves, recognise equity as an important tenet of the Australia they desire to live, learn and succeed in.
Existing testing measures do not capture holistic learning experiences that occur both inside and outside education settings. They also do not capture all the key objectives as set out in the school education system, to do with promoting active citizenship and societal engagement. Disenfranchised students in vulnerable contexts are more likely to fare worse in participation and engagement in schooling and in achieving minimum proficiency standards in their learning compared to the national average.
This report identifies key drivers of inequity both inside and outside education settings for the selected demographic groups. The key drivers of inequity in education inside education settings include standardised testing, one-size-fits-all curriculum, teaching and staffing issues and absence of a whole of school approach, with a lack of adequate resources and infrastructure. Drivers outside education settings include disconnections between schools and community, poverty and lack of a supportive home environment. These drivers are the causes of difference in learning outcomes between students in vulnerable circumstances and their peers.