Friday, July 29, 2016

Sub-bachelor pathways to higher education

The 88 page report "Pathways to higher education: the efficacy of enabling and sub-bachelor pathways for disadvantaged students" by Pitman, Trinidad, Devlin,  Harvey,  Brett and McKay (2016), was produced for the Australian Government's Department of Education and Training. The report looked at results of students from disadvantaged groups undertaking programs designed to help them enter university. It found a "diverse range of enabling programs", but with "... a lack of transparency, transferability and information about enabling programs that is likely to hinder student take-up, mobility and progression" (p. 6). Students from the enabling programs  have "... better first-year retention rates than those articulating via most other sub-bachelor pathways", but the results are less clear in terms of the ratio of units passed to units studied.

Students were more satisfied with the enabling programs than entering university via  VET. However, most of the VET students had aimed for a VET qualification, not as university pathway.

The government  floated the idea of funding sub-bachelor programs, more generally, in May 2016. This would seem a simple and cost effective way to increase retention rates, but only if the sub-bachelor programs provide a useful stand-alone qualification.


Pitman, T., Trinidad, S., Devlin, M., Harvey, A., Brett, M. & McKay, J. (2016). “Pathways to Higher Education: The Efficacy of Enabling and Sub-Bachelor Pathways for Disadvantaged Students”. National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE), Perth: Curtin University.

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