Pathways from school to further education or work : examining the consequences of year 12 course choices.

Sue Thomson, ACER

Longitudinal surveys of Australian youth research report ; n.42


Particular subjects or subject combinations are traditionally more likely to act as gateways to higher education or to vocational education and training, while other combinations are more likely to lead to the workforce or perhaps to unemployment. In general, tertiary or vocational qualifications facilitate the transition to work, and graduates earn significantly more than those who enter the workforce directly from school. However, some groups of students are less likely to participate in further education and training, including low achievers and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The literature has pointed to differences in curriculum participation according to background variables such as social background and gender. If these choices lead to different but equal outcomes then there is no problem: there are just different choices. If, however, such differences lead to better or poorer outcomes for particular groups, then it is important that such issues be explored and exposed. Some subject groups may just appeal more to males or females, but is it likely that some subject groups would appeal more to those from high socioeconomic backgrounds than low socioeconomic backgrounds? Do some schools provide better opportunities for their students, and if so, which schools and how? These are the types of questions this study has addressed. [p.vii]