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Participation in Higher Education: aspirations, attainment and social background

Croll, P. and Attwood, G. (2013) Participation in Higher Education: aspirations, attainment and social background. British Journal of Educational Studies, 61 (2). pp. 187-202. ISSN 1467-8527

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/00071005.2013.787386


The recent report of the Milburn Review into Social Mobility highlights the under-representation of young people from lower socio-economic groups in higher education and encourages universities and others to act to remedy this situation as a contribution to greater social mobility. The paper uses data from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England to examine the relationship between social background, attainment and university participation. The results show that differences in school-level attainment associated with social background are by far the most important explanation for social background differences in university attendance. However, there remains a small proportion of the participation gap that is not accounted for by attainment. It is also the case that early intentions for higher education participation are highly predictive of actual participation. The results suggest that although there may be some scope for universities to act to improve participation by people from less advantaged backgrounds, a much more important focus of action is on improving the school-level achievement of these students.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:33237

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