Poor parents not encouraging high school completion, study says

Oct 14, 2012

Parents from poorer backgrounds are less likely to encourage their kids to finish high school, according to a new analysis from the University of Melbourne.

About six in 10 children from low socio-economic in Australia currently complete high school, while 90% of students from more affluent homes finish their secondary studies.

Lead researcher Dr Cain Polidano (0409 703 296), from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, said the attitudes of parents played a crucial role.

"Differences in the education of parents are probably the most important factor explaining the gap in school completion rates," he said.

The research found disadvantaged students were not only less likely to plan on completing high school (76% compared to 90% of better-off students), but they were also less likely to believe their parents want them to finish school (58% vs 73%).

"More importantly though, parents on lower incomes are more likely to favour vocational training courses—which have no school completion pre-requisite—over university courses," Dr Polidano said.

"Therefore, those parents may be more willing to let their children quit school.

"It seems many parents aren't aware that more than 95% of schools now offer their own VET courses."

Differences in the quality of schools on offer (including resources, governance, teachers and peers) is estimated to be relatively unimportant in explaining the completion gap.

But the study did find good quality teachers encourage to remain in school, but have little effect on the retention of other students.

"This result underlines the particular importance of teachers in promoting a positive learning culture in low SES schools where may not be the norm among students and their parents," Dr Polidano said

"These findings should help schools and politicians better focus policies aimed at closing the SES completion gap, which is vital to reduce of opportunity."

Explore further: Physicists create tool to foresee language destruction impact and thus prevent it

More information: The research, 'Explaining the SES School Completion Gap' (co-authored by Barbara Hanel and Hielke Buddelmeyer), has been produced as part of the Melbourne Institute's Working Paper Series 2012.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Middle-class children: Squeaky wheels in training

Aug 19, 2012

A study by Indiana University sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco found that working-class and middle-class parents often take very deliberate -- but different -- approaches to helping their children with their school experiences.

Recommended for you

Affirmative action elicits bias in pro-equality Caucasians

14 hours ago

New research from Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business indicates that bias towards the effects of affirmative action exists in not only people opposed to it, but also in those who strongly endorse equality.

Election surprises tend to erode trust in government

Jul 24, 2014

When asked who is going to win an election, people tend to predict their own candidate will come out on top. When that doesn't happen, according to a new study from the University of Georgia, these "surprised losers" often ...

Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

Jul 23, 2014

(AP)—Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

User comments : 0