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In early 2013, the authors were commissioned by DIICCSRTE to develop a critical interventions framework for student equity in higher education. To answer the seemingly simple question of whether we as a sector were on track in achieving our national social inclusion goals, we must review the current student equity makeup of the sector, and determine how effective our equity initiatives are. The first part of that question was relatively easy to answer. However, finding clear, rigorous evidence of program efficacy from the literature was much more difficult. In this presentation, I will discuss the critical interventions framework and the difficulties with uncovering evidence of effectiveness as opposed to the theoretical strength of an initiative, and briefly discuss how the framework might be used in the future.

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Developing a Critical Interventions Framework

  1. 1. Developing a Critical Interventions Framework Dr Ryan Naylor, CSHE, University of Melbourne Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J 05/02/2014
  2. 2. Project Background • Commissioned project for DIICCSRTE, completed by Dr Ryan Naylor, Dr Chi Baik, Professor Richard James • Are we on track in achieving national social inclusion goals? 1. 2. Where are we? How effective are our current initiatives? (What appears to work well? What doesn’t?) i. Is it possible to generate a typology of equity initiatives to allow consolidation of research evidence? ii. Is there evidence in the literature or from HEPPP evaluations to support their efficacy?
  3. 3. Caution! • Some necessary simplifications had to be made in creating the typology and fitting the literature to it • “Intervention” is a contentious term with troubling associations • New coalition government changes the policy context
  4. 4. What has had the biggest effect on equity? • Uncapping/deregulation of volume of undergraduate places? • National target for low SES participation (and associated Mission Based Compacts)? • HEPPP funding? • Wider societal trends in community beliefs about the value of undertaking higher education, entry requirements, eligibility for participation? • Efficacy of equity initiatives depends on underlying factors such as these • Many variables, highly inter-related
  5. 5. Where are we? A quick look at the numbers
  6. 6. Since 2007, there has been an explosion in domestic student numbers 2007: approx. 722,000 domestic students 2011: approx. 888,000 domestic students = An increase of 23% over 4 years, or an annual growth rate of 5% This level of growth is unprecedented in Australian HE
  7. 7. Gains in participation share have been made… Participation Ratio (2011)
  8. 8. …But they have been relatively modest and not universal Participation Ratio (2011)
  9. 9. Average growth rate (2008-2011) (%) Total Total Remote Regional Low SES (CD measure) Low SES (postcode measure) Women in Non-Traditional Areas Students from a Non English Speaking Background Indigenous students Students with a disability It is difficult to improve equity during growth periods 12 10 8 6 4 2 0
  10. 10. Average growth rate (2008-2011) (%) Total Total Remote Regional Low SES (CD measure) Low SES (postcode measure) Women in NonTraditional Areas Students from a Non English Speaking… Indigenous students Students with a disability But some groups whose share has historically been stable have increased their participation share 12 10 8 6 4 2 0
  11. 11. This change has not been uniform – low SES Access rate (2011) (%) Change since 2007 (%) A 4.25 -0.01 B 6.92 2.38 C 7.10 -0.39 D 15.14 -0.14 E 20.49 -1.38 F 32.82 0.66 G 33.83 2.88 Sector average 16.87 0.75 • No correlation between access rate (2011, 2007) and change • Complex factors – different geographical contexts, access policies, etc • Traditional strong performers didn’t do better
  12. 12. Total Most groups appear no less likely to succeed
  13. 13. Total Most groups (bar 2) are no less likely to succeed May not have seen full effects yet – not all students from DDS cohort have moved through the system yet (early days yet!)
  14. 14. For most groups, the key problem continues to be access Equity group Participation Retention Success Students with a disability 0.48 0.96 0.93 Indigenous students 0.55 0.85 0.81 Students from Non English Speaking Background 0.82 1.04 0.97 Women in Non-Traditional Areas 0.35 1.01 0.99 Low SES (postcode measure) 0.67 0.98 0.97 Low SES (CD measure) 0.62 0.97 0.96 Regional 0.64 0.98 0.99 Remote 0.39 0.91 0.94 Participation and access are (should be?) key focal points in student equity and social inclusion
  15. 15. For most groups, the key problem continues to be access Equity group Participation Retention Success Students with a disability 0.48 0.96 0.93 Indigenous students 0.55 0.85 0.81 Students from Non English Speaking Background 0.82 1.04 0.97 Women in Non-Traditional Areas 0.35 1.01 0.99 Low SES (postcode measure) 0.67 0.98 0.97 Low SES (CD measure) 0.62 0.97 0.96 Regional 0.64 0.98 0.99 Remote 0.39 0.91 0.94 This is not to argue they don’t need support once enrolled • less academically well prepared students from any background • Indigenous students
  16. 16. How effective are our current initiatives: The Critical Interventions Framework
  17. 17. The Critical Interventions Framework • Is it possible to create a typology of equity initiatives? • Can we find sufficient evidence in the literature to point to the efficacy of particular types of initiatives? • Can we identify the initiatives that are most effective? • We don’t know for sure, so we had to make some guesses
  18. 18. The Critical Interventions Framework • Is it possible to create a typology of equity initiatives? • Yes • Can we find sufficient evidence in the literature to point to the efficacy of particular types of initiatives? • Often no • Can we identify the initiatives that are most effective? • No. There simply isn’t enough evidence.
  19. 19. The equity initiative terrain across a notional student lifecycle
  20. 20. The Critical Interventions Framework (one small section)
  21. 21. The Critical Interventions Framework (one small section)
  22. 22. The Critical Interventions Framework (one small section)
  23. 23. The Critical Interventions Framework (one small section) • We all have intuitions about what works • Attempted to base framework on evaluative science, not intuition • Unfortunately, the science is largely not there, so some estimation and judgement was involved
  24. 24. All things considered, what did we rate highly? • Not intended to narrow or homogenise people’s efforts High 1B. Later-year outreach (Years 10-12) 2B. Bridging/foundation programs 2D. Scholarships 4C. Student services provision 5A. Monitoring student completion rates Very High 1D. School curriculum enhancement/support 2A. Pathway/articulation programs 2C. Alternate selection criteria and tools 3A. First year orientation/transition support
  25. 25. Red - rated very high; green – rated high
  26. 26. Do we have good evidence? High Quality of Evidence 1B. Later-year outreach (Years 10-12) Limited 2B. Bridging/foundation programs Some (from US) 2D. Scholarships Strong (needs-based, not merit) 4C. Student services provision Varies depending on service 5A. Monitoring student completion rates N/A Very High 1D. School curriculum enhancement/support Some (from US); strong for need 2A. Pathway/articulation programs Mixed 2C. Alternate selection criteria and tools Strong 3A. First year orientation/transition support Strong (from US)
  27. 27. Red – strong evidence
  28. 28. Green – some evidence
  29. 29. Blue – may be impossible to get evidence
  30. 30. How are we spending our HEPPP funding? • This is purely descriptive, not normative! • Not all initiatives require the same amount of funding High Proportion of HEPPP funding 1B. Later-year outreach (Years 10-12) 14 2B. Bridging/foundation programs 7 2D. Scholarships 14 4C. Student services provision 15 5A. Monitoring student completion rates N/A Very High 1D. School curriculum enhancement/support 1 2A. Pathway/articulation programs 3 2C. Alternate selection criteria and tools 2 3A. First year orientation/transition support 10 Total: 66%
  31. 31. Where to next? • Written for national policy purposes – not meant to function at the institutional level • We need better evidence of program efficacy (and this is where institutions come in) o Detailed, rigorous and published evaluations o To enable a sector-wide conversation about equity initiatives • How can the CIF be used in an institutional context? Is this typology helpful?
  32. 32. Where to next? • Funding sought to research: o Process and attitudinal factors affecting program evaluation o Resources for embedding evaluation into core business • First year experience survey • Collaborations with NCSEHE staff
  33. 33. For more information: cshe.unimelb.edu.au rnaylor@unimelb.edu.au ncsehe.edu.au ncsehe@curtin.edu.au

In early 2013, the authors were commissioned by DIICCSRTE to develop a critical interventions framework for student equity in higher education. To answer the seemingly simple question of whether we as a sector were on track in achieving our national social inclusion goals, we must review the current student equity makeup of the sector, and determine how effective our equity initiatives are. The first part of that question was relatively easy to answer. However, finding clear, rigorous evidence of program efficacy from the literature was much more difficult. In this presentation, I will discuss the critical interventions framework and the difficulties with uncovering evidence of effectiveness as opposed to the theoretical strength of an initiative, and briefly discuss how the framework might be used in the future.

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