Ranking universities based on equity – it is ‘doable’, but is it desirable?
Presented by the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education
This session presents findings from a research project which aimed to rank Australian universities on their ‘equity performance’; that is, the extent to which they were accessible for, supportive of, and benefiting students traditionally under-represented in higher education. The study comprised a conceptual consideration of how higher education equity might be defined and empirically measured; identification and collation of potential indicators; and the implementation of rankings based on a number of different weighting scenarios. The findings and ranking scenarios from this analysis will be presented in this session. They help to demonstrate the subjective nature of both higher education equity and higher education ranking systems; and subsequently, they help in questioning the desirability of mixing the two.
Daniel Edwards is Research Director of the Tertiary Education Research Program at the Australian Council for Educational Research. He has a keen interest in tertiary education policy and has explored issues relating to graduate and alumni outcomes, supply of and demand, student achievement, student aspirations and pathways, selection policies for entrance to university, and collaborative assessment development. He also has experience researching wider social issues regarding social stratification and demographic change. Dr Edwards works with governments, intergovernmental agencies, tertiary education institutions and researchers across the world in building the research in his program. Dr Edwards is a member of the ACER Board of Directors, a member of the Australian Government's Equity Research and Innovation Advisory Panel, and an Honorary Senior Fellow at the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education.