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'Low income doesn't mean stupid and destined for failure': Challenging the deficit discourse around students from low SES backgrounds in higher education

McKay, Jade and Devlin, Marcia 2016, 'Low income doesn't mean stupid and destined for failure': Challenging the deficit discourse around students from low SES backgrounds in higher education, International journal of inclusive education, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 347-363, doi: 10.1080/13603116.2015.1079273.

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Title 'Low income doesn't mean stupid and destined for failure': Challenging the deficit discourse around students from low SES backgrounds in higher education
Author(s) McKay, Jade
Devlin, Marcia
Journal name International journal of inclusive education
Volume number 20
Issue number 4
Start page 347
End page 363
Total pages 17
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 1360-3116
1464-5173
Keyword(s) social sciences
low socio-economic students
deficit discourse
higher education
widening participation
deficit thinking
Summary The discourse around students from low socio-economic backgrounds often adopts a deficit conception in which these students are seen as a problem in higher education. In light of recent figures pointing to an increase in the number and proportion of these students participating in higher education [Pitman, T. 2014. "More Students in Higher ed, But it's no more Representative." The Conversation 28: 1-4] and an absence of evidence to support deficit thinking, this deficit discourse requires re-examination. Qualitative data from 115 interviews carried out across 6 Australian universities as part of a national study reveal that, contrary to the conception of these students as a problem, students from low SES backgrounds demonstrate high levels of determination and academic skills and that they actively seek high standards in their studies. This paper critically examines deficit conceptions of these students, drawing on findings from qualitative interviews with 89 successful students from low SES backgrounds and 26 staff members recognised as exemplary in their provision of teaching and support of students from low SES backgrounds. Drawing on these findings, this paper challenges the deficit discourse and argues for a more affirmative and nuanced conception of students from low SES backgrounds.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/13603116.2015.1079273
Field of Research 130103 Higher Education
1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Socio Economic Objective 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Taylor & Francis
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30084846

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Department of Accounting
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Created: Mon, 11 Jul 2016, 15:14:24 EST

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