Students - University

An 11-year study has debunked the notion that enrolling children into selective schools in Australia guarantees a brighter future.

Scores of parents every year join the mad rush to prepare their children for the entrance tests, investing hours into studies, and spending resources, all in hopes of securing a place in the academically selective institutes.

However, when compared to their non-selected contemporaries, children at selective schools initially performed better on exams, but between the ages of 19 and 25, there was no difference in their levels of education or employment.

"Studies show that parents wish to enroll their children into selective schools because they believe it will increase the chances of their children getting into a prestigious university and securing a well-paid and high-status job," Victoria University research fellow Melissa Tham told Nine News.

The Victoria University researchers tracked student data using Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) to follow 3,000 students from 2009.

Selective schools have a minor advantage in early outcomes compared to non-selective schools, with 81% of graduates getting employment or college by the age of 19 compared to 77.7% who graduate from non-selective institutes.

However, this benefit is invalidated when geography, gender, and socioeconomic status are involved. The research indicates that these variables, rather than the school, may be more significant.

Even though they are public, selective schools enroll a larger percentage of children from affluent households who can afford to pay for admission exam assistance.

However, according to the study, by the time the students reach the age of 25, only general life satisfaction was 0.19 points higher for those who attended a selective school, with the rest of the outcomes remaining the same.

"These very modest findings indicate that attending an academically selective school does not appear to pay off in large benefits for individuals," co-author of the study, Andrew Wade, said.
"We argue that academically selective schools in the government sector therefore contradicts the principles of inclusive and equitable education which underpin Australia's school system."