Children’s learning and development can be influenced by the circumstances in which they grow up, such as their cultural background, their socioeconomic status, or where they live. Equity in education is when education succeeds in establishing a ‘level playing field’: when a child’s background characteristics do not predict their learning and development outcomes. When children from particular demographic groups, certain types of schools or early childhood centres consistently show poorer outcomes, it suggests they are experiencing educational disadvantage and that our education system is not equitable.

To achieve AERO’s vision of excellent and equitable outcomes for all children and young people in Australia, we need to use evidence to find out what works to address disadvantage. One of our priorities is to better understand educational disadvantage: where it comes from, what the impact is and the best ways to address it.

Australian female primary school teacher working with children offering support and guidance

Catching up: How to close equity gaps in education

‘Catching up.’ It’s a phrase so often heard in education: how do we close equity gaps in learning and development, and best support children from disadvantaged backgrounds to catch up to their more advantaged peers?
Two female students and one male student from different cultural backgrounds reading together in a classroom.

Does background determine student achievement?

A new analysis of NAPLAN data reconfirms that while students’ backgrounds influence their literacy and numeracy achievement, their results are not wholly determined by socioeconomic background. 
3 male students happily conducting a science experiment wearing lab cots and goggles.

There is no such thing as an 'average' school

We might associate ‘top schools’ with having the lion's share of academic high-achievers. But when we look at the distribution of achievement across all students within schools and compare it to average differences between schools, the story is not so straightforward.
Female secondary school student smiling in a classroom

Examining equity in NAPLAN achievement

A fact sheet explaining how our NAPLAN data analysis was conducted and the research approach known as multilevel modelling.