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ERIC Number: EJ1064017
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-0729-4360
Does Accelerating Access to Higher Education Lower Its Quality? The Australian Experience
Pitman, Tim; Koshy, Paul; Phillimore, John
Higher Education Research and Development, v34 n3 p609-623 2015
In the pursuit of mass higher education, fears are often expressed that the quality of higher education suffers as access is increased. This quantitative study considers three proxies of educational quality: (1) prior academic achievement of the student, (2) attrition and retention rates and (3) progression rates, to establish whether educational quality suffers when supply is significantly increased. The period of analysis (2009-2011) saw just such an increase in higher education places in Australia, as universities prepared for the removal of all caps on undergraduate domestic student places in 2012. Our analysis reveals that, whilst widening access results in more students with lower levels of academic achievement entering higher education, this does not necessarily equate to a lowering of educational quality. Furthermore, although on average student progression rates dropped slightly, retention rates actually increased in the majority of universities, suggesting high levels of student perseverance. In addition, there were already wide variations in attrition and progression rates between universities, and the changes observed between 2009 and 2011 did not lead to substantial alterations.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia