Influence of equity group status and entry pathway on academic outcomes in higher education

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management


Taylor & Francis


School of Business and Law


National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, Curtin University [NA]


Li, I. W., Jackson, D., & Carroll, D. R. (2023). Influence of equity group status and entry pathway on academic outcomes in higher education. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2023.2180163


Higher education participation has increased worldwide given policies devoted to widening participation for under-represented groups, including the use of alternative entry pathways to university. It is, however, unknown if students admitted via alternative pathways perform well academically. This study uses data for 81,874 students from 16 Australian universities to examine academic performance by entry pathway. Students admitted via alternative pathways generally have poorer academic scores in their first year and over their course than peers coming from secondary school, particularly those entering via vocational education. However, students from enabling programs perform better academically than secondary school entrants. Further, students from under-represented groups are outperformed academically by their more privileged counterparts, particularly Indigenous students and those from low SES and non-English speaking backgrounds. These findings reflect the need to review academic support for students from certain entry pathways and equity groups to enhance their academic success in higher education.



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