Which school will you attend? New study finds students at the top and bottom of the socio-economic ladder are more likely to attend higher-performing schools

Posted March 02, 2020 00:09:53 The results of a new study show that the more socio-economically privileged a child is, the more likely they are to attend the most prestigious schools.

“The data is extremely important in determining which schools to attend and which to drop out of,” said study author Professor Michael Brierley.

Brierley, a professor at the University of Leeds and a lecturer at the Australian National University, said the findings showed students from socio-advantaged backgrounds were less likely to receive high school diplomas than students from poorer backgrounds.

The study, titled “The Impact of Social Class on High School Achievement and College Admission”, involved interviewing over 3,000 students aged 15-22.

According to Brierle, the study showed socio-class has a significant impact on the quality of life for students from low socio-academic backgrounds.

“In general, students from a lower socio-cultural background are less likely than students of higher socio-status backgrounds to be employed, to be in good physical health, and to receive support from their parents,” he said.

This, in turn, had a significant effect on students’ attendance at the highest performing schools.

“If a student has a lower socioeconomic status, they are more apt to attend a school with lower socio-[economic] status students, and this also increases their likelihood of receiving a high school diploma,” he explained.

“These findings are consistent across socio-disciplines.”

Briersley said this trend continued even when controlling for differences in parental income.

As a result, he said, students of low socio-“academic” backgrounds were more likely than their wealthier peers to drop-out of school at the same time they were completing their high school degrees.

In addition, students with a lower social class were more at risk of dropping out of school in the first place.

Professor Brierleys study found students from more socio-“economic” backgrounds who attended the highest schools were more than twice as likely to finish high school than students who did not.

His findings also showed that students from higher socio-“ethnic” backgrounds, which includes people from Indigenous communities, were more successful in completing high school.

But what about students from disadvantaged backgrounds?

“There are many factors that influence socioeconomic status that have an impact on outcomes in school,” Brierles study found.

These factors include having a parent who is a person of colour, being the first child in the family to attend school, having access to higher income, having a disadvantaged background, or being poor.

“The researchers identified the socio[economic] disadvantage as one of the most important predictors of high school graduation,” he continued.

While the study was limited to high school students, Professor Brier, who is also an assistant professor at Leeds, said it could be used to provide data for students in higher education and postgraduate training.

He said it was important to remember that a higher social class does not necessarily mean higher socio-[income], but it does mean that there are more opportunities to get a high-level of education.

For instance, the research showed that a child who is the eldest child in their family is more likely for that child to complete high school compared to children from lower socio-“income” backgrounds.

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