ERIC Number: EJ784912
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Testing the Spill-Over Hypothesis: Meritocracy in Enrolment in Postgraduate Education
Zimdars, Anna K.
Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning, v54 n1 p1-19 Jul 2007
This study contributes to the literature on educational transitions, specifically whether an equalising of opportunities at early educational transitions translates into more equal participation patterns at later stages (Spill-over versus maximally maintained inequality hypotheses). The case study approach used in this paper compares the enrolment profile of postgraduate students at a prestigious, research-led British university with the profile of the postgraduates' undergraduate degree-awarding institution. The database for this research consists of government statistics and two purposefully administered surveys, one of undergraduate students (n = 709) and one of postgraduate students (n = 502). The study finds that the intake of new postgraduates is largely drawn from the most prestigious universities thus suggesting that graduates from lower tier institutions do not self-select themselves for further study at Oxford. The results lend support to the meritocracy hypothesis regarding the attainment levels of new postgraduate students and their propensity to gain government funding. There are, however, some discrepancies in transition patterns that advantage the already privileged. This lends support to the maximally maintained inequality hypothesis and suggests that there are social justice concerns in postgraduate education.
Descriptors: Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Student Surveys, Foreign Countries, Case Studies, Social Justice, Equal Education, Social Stratification, Enrollment Trends, Profiles, Student Financial Aid
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Great Britain)