Exploring anomalies in Indigenous student engagement

findings from a national Australian survey of undergraduates

Christine Asmar*, Susan Page, Ali Radloff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


Increases in participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in higher education across Australia continue to be promising. However, it is also known that Indigenous students' attrition, retention and completion rates remain areas of concern. In this paper, we report our findings from an analysis of Indigenous student responses to the 2009 Australasian Survey of Student Engagement. Overall, Indigenous Australian students express positive responses in relation to engagement, but are more likely than non-Indigenous students to be planning to depart. We explore this somewhat unexpected anomaly, whilst also suggesting that much more needs to be known about our Indigenous students, including, for example, whom they may interact with at university; where they turn for support; and why they may decide to leave. Our findings strongly indicate that better national and institutional data are needed to address the current gaps in knowledge relating to Indigenous student populations in Australia and around the world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-29
Number of pages15
JournalHigher Education Research and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015


  • Aboriginal
  • attrition
  • Indigenous education
  • retention
  • student engagement
  • student support
  • Torres Strait Islander
  • university

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