To aspire: a systematic reflection on understanding aspirations in higher education

Gale, Trevor and Parker, Stephen 2015, To aspire: a systematic reflection on understanding aspirations in higher education, Australian educational researcher, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 139-153, doi: 10.1007/s13384-014-0165-9.

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Title To aspire: a systematic reflection on understanding aspirations in higher education
Author(s) Gale, TrevorORCID iD for Gale, Trevor
Parker, Stephen
Journal name Australian educational researcher
Volume number 42
Issue number 2
Start page 139
End page 153
Total pages 15
Publisher Springer
Place of publication North Ryde, N.S.W.
Publication date 2015-04-01
ISSN 0311-6999
Keyword(s) Social Sciences
Education & Educational Research
Student aspiration
Higher education
Social imaginary
Navigational capacity
Summary Aspirations for higher education by people from low socioeconomic status backgrounds are now a focus of government policy in many OECD nations. This is part of a global trend emphasizing the perceived benefits of ‘raising’ aspirations among under-represented groups as a social inclusion strategy to widen university participation, but also ultimately as a strategy to increase national competitiveness in the global knowledge economy. Yet despite its importance, aspiration tends to carry simplistic meanings in much higher education policy and practice. This paper attempts to craft a more nuanced account of the term, informed by four concept-clusters derived from sociological and philosophical literatures and research, and with a more mutual relation of public and private interests. It complements this ‘intellectual craftsmanship’ or ‘systematic reflection’ (Mills in The sociological imagination, 1959) with data drawn from a future-focused survey of secondary school students from low and low-mid socioeconomic status backgrounds in regional Australia. Results from the survey provide illustrations that help expand understandings of student aspirations for higher education, from a group presumed to be deficit in aspirations.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s13384-014-0165-9
Field of Research 130103 Higher Education
130106 Secondary Education
Socio Economic Objective 939903 Equity and Access to Education
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2015, Springer
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