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Moving beyond a ‘bums-on-seats’ analysis of progress towards widening participation: reflections on the context, design and evaluation of an Australian government-funded mentoring programme
journal contributionposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Julianne LynchJulianne Lynch, Bernadette Walker-Gibbs, Sandra Herbert
In 2010 the Australian Government established the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships programme – a funding agenda to promote programmes that respond to the underrepresentation in higher education of people from what is often denoted low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds. Many government-funded programmes and projects have since emerged that respond to the problem of low SES underrepresentation, based on partnerships between higher education providers and other organisations. The arguments made in this paper draw on one such project: a mentoring programme implemented from 2011 to 2013 that targeted the aspirations of Year 9 regional secondary students. We discuss data and documentation that provide insights into the conception and design of the mentoring programme, and the strategies used to evaluate it, in order to discuss how funding and policy contexts influences the possible solutions that might be implemented in response to the underrepresentation in higher education of people from low SES backgrounds.