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Socio-economic status and subject choice at 14: do they interact to affect university access

Anders, JD; Henderson, M; Moulton, V; Sullivan, A; (2017) Socio-economic status and subject choice at 14: do they interact to affect university access. Nuffield Foundation: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

There is a large socio-economic status gap in higher education (HE) participation in England. However, most evidence suggests that this is driven by inequality that emerges before the point of application. It has been suggested that one such source of inequality is the subjects and qualifications studied by young people while still at school. The importance of this factor for young people's chances of progressing to HE in general, and to highly selective HE institutions in particular, has increasingly attracted the attention of policy-makers. This has been most notable in the UK Government's introduction of the English Baccalaureate performance measure for schools at age 16, and the introduction of performance in Russell Group "facilitating subjects" at A-Level for schools at age 18. However, this area is under-studied in the academic literature. This project aimed to address this gap using a combination of survey and administrative data on a recent cohort of English students. It analysed the subject choices taken by young people at age 14 (affecting subjects and qualifications studied for examinations predominantly at age 16) using statistical analysis to estimate the subsequent importance of subject choice in the probability of attending university or a highly competitive university. It also considers the association between socioeconomic status and young people's subject choices, and the extent to which this acts as a transmission mechanism between socio-economic status and inequality in attendance at university.

Type: Report
Title: Socio-economic status and subject choice at 14: do they interact to affect university access
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/news/seminar-you...
Language: English
Additional information: This report details work conducted as part of Nuffield Foundation grant EDU/42169 (Principal In- vestigator: Jake Anders). Parts of the work under this grant were carried out in collaboration with Morag Henderson, Alice Sullivan and Vanessa Moulton, working on research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. In particular, the analysis reported in Section 4 was led by Morag Henderson. The Nuffield Foundation is an endowed charitable trust that aims to improve social wellbeing in the widest sense. It funds research and innovation in education and social policy and also works to build capacity in education, science and social science research. The Nuffield Foundation has funded this project, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation. More information is available at www.nuffieldfoundation.org.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10038225
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