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Public school students perform well at university

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6 April 2005

6 April 2005

A study released today by Monash University researchers Ian Dobson and Eric Skuja has found students from public schools outperform those from private schools when they reach university.

Mr Dobson said a survey of 12,500 first year Monash University students revealed public school students who left Year 12 with lower marks than their private school rivals overtook them academically at university.

"Once on a level playing field, students from non-selective government schools tend to do much better," he said.

"Private school students have an advantage at exam time in Year 12 because they have access to more resources. However, this advantage evaporates when they reach university."

The report found that once at university, public school students performed better academically in their first year compared with private school students who received similar ENTER scores.

"We found that, on average, government school students performed about five percentage points better than students from independent schools," Mr Dobson said.

The study confirmed that private school students generally received higher Year 12 marks than those from the public system but showed that any edge gained was lost in the first year of a bachelor degree.

Mr Dobson said the report had implications for university admissions and policies.

The report, called 'Secondary schooling, tertiary entry ranks and university performance', will be released in the April edition of People and Place, distributed by Monash University's Centre for Urban Research and Population Studies.

The report can be accessed at http://elecpress.monash.edu.au/pnp/view/issue/?volume=13&issue=1.

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