Higher education ranking systems are ubiquitous and are used, increasingly, to measure and hold universities accountable for a range of issues, such as quality and performance. However to date, very few ranks incorporate measurements of equity and fairness, let alone prioritise them. Even rarer still is evidence of a theoretically informed framework for equity measurement, underpinning such a ranking system. This presentation sets out the findings of a research project undertaken in Australia to construct just such a ranking system. It outlines the rationale/motivation for creating the ranking system, the systematic approach taken in its construction, its strengths and weaknesses and concludes with a discussion on whether ranking universities in such a way promotes positive action or good policy.
Associate Professor Tim Pitman is a researcher of higher education policy at Curtin University, Australia. His research has a focus on widening access and participation for groups of students historically under-represented in higher education. Tim’s recent research explored the use of ranking systems to measure higher education equity performance. He is currently undertaking a fellowship exploring how people with disability are supported in their higher education studies.