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Inside Teaching : April 2010
Inside Teaching | April 2010 RESEARCH 36 Many Indigenous students are trapped in a cycle that takes them two steps forward and one step back: they’re less likely than other students to go to preschool and are more likely to skip school. Often, their parents have not completed high school. A poor start to school mixed with truancy leads to low academic achievement and, in turn, low self-esteem. They eventually leave what schooling they have completed and in time have children of their own – and so the cycle repeats. There’s no doubting the disparity that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Indigenous students are less likely to have access to textbooks, a computer, an internet connection, a desk or even a quiet place in which to study. As Indigenous students continue through school education, the gap widens between their academic achievement and that of their non-Indigenous peers. Our recent study comparing the performance of Indigenous and non- Indigenous students offers an insight into the factors that have impact over time on the educational performance of Indigenous students. The academic achievement of Australia’s Indigenous students is hindered by ongoing disadvantage, as sue tHoMson and lisa De bortoli explain. Two steps forward Two steps forward One step back One step back