Top marks: the impact of parental socio-economic status on secondary schooling outcomes

Researchers are investigating how parents’ socio-economic status impacts on student achievement throughout high school.

NAPLAN scores through secondary schooling, Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) outcomes and the role of social economic status

This Australian Research Council-funded Life Course Centre (LCC) study examines how the impact of parental socio-economic status on student achievement evolves as students progress through high school.

The study traces the progress of students in secondary school, from Year 7 to 9 and from Year 9 to 12, with socio-economic status determined by parents’ levels of education and their occupations.

Researcher, the Melbourne Institute's Professor Moshe Justman, is seeking to establish if the Victorian secondary education system contributes to, or reduces, the achievement gap between students from different social backgrounds.

Using data from one complete grade cohort of Victorian school students, Prof Justman is also investigating if the egalitarian principles of equal opportunity associated with education translate into more or less equal distributions of outcomes.

Read about other LCC projects:


This study will provide a measure of social mobility over time for one cohort, using achievement measured as a rank in Years 7, 9 and 12.

If researchers discover that the relative position of students from low socio-economic backgrounds declines substantially, it may point to the need for interventions to address this phenomenon.

Chief investigator

Professor Moshe Justman
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Related research

The Life Course Centre: helping disadvantaged Australian families

Private v Public: the impact of private primary schools

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