Success and Failure at School

Subject EDUC90634 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours.
Total Time Commitment:

125 hours. Attendance at all classes (tutorial/seminars/practical classes/lectures/labs) is obligatory. Failure to attend 80% of classes will normally result in failure in the subject.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


Education Student Centre
234 Queensberry Street
Phone: +61 3 8344 8285

Subject Overview:

In all OECD countries, student achievement displays marked social patterns. These tend to persist over time, even while changing in form. A major question for educational research and policy is to understand how these patterns arise and why they persist. This subject provides an introduction to theories of social inequality in education. It draws on writings from a wide range of contexts, both geographical and historical, to capture differences in approach and developments over time. The aim is to see how researchers have sought to explain and interpret social patterns in achievement at different stages of schooling and tertiary education and in different national contexts, and thus to help evaluate policies aimed at reducing inequality.

  • to understand the different ways in which under-achievement amongst disadvantaged groups has been explained by researchers;
  • to examine different explanations in their historical and geographical context;
  • to study the connections between how inequality is explained and how concepts of equity as a policy goal are framed.

One 5,000 word essay (80%) and one seminar presentation involving a power point display with notes for class distribution due in class during the semester (20%)

Prescribed Texts:

A.H.Halsey, H.Lauder, P.Brown & A.S.Wells (eds.), Education, Culture, Economy, Society (2007) ISBN 978-0-19-878187-5
Teese, R., Academic Success and Social Power (2000)
OECD, No more failures (2008)

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students will be able to:

  • critically assess arguments about the origins of under-achievement amongst disadvantaged groups
  • relate arguments to changing historical and geographical contexts
Related Course(s): Master of Education (Stream 100B)Coursework
Master of Education (Stream 150)

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