Widening Participation Unit, Evaluation and Research
Evaluation & Research
The Widening Participation programs have a comprehensive evaluation framework that includes methods to capture quantitative and qualitative feedback from high school students, teachers, parents, community members, university students and academics.
Evaluation of the programs has revealed positive impacts in the following areas: educational engagement, motivation, confidence and understanding of the pathways to and benefits of tertiary education.
There is a positive buzz in the school, we have students who are more confident and engaged now– this is also something that benefits not only the school, but the wider community. - Teacher
Click to read Jake's story ; Former LEAP-Robotics Participant and current Macquarie University Student- Dreaming Big
Read about Shamsia's journey ; Former Mentee and current Macquarie University Student - Supported to Succeed
Sonal Singh PhD
Research and Evaluation Manager
T: +61 2 9850 1932
F: +61 2 9850 4694
Evidence of Impact
$6 Return for every $1 invested
The Widening Participation Unit conducts ongoing monitoring and evaluation to assess our progress in improving access, participation and success for equity students in higher education.
We completed a multi-method, longitudinal study involving a mixture of surveys, focus groups and interviews to review the effectiveness of our programs in 2014-2015 using the following indicators:
Out of the students we surveyed across 2013, 2014 and 2015:
● 98% reported greater awareness of what university offers
● 89% reported knowing more about potential career pathways
● 90% reported improved motivation to study at university
● 82% reported increased confidence in their academic abilities
Community of Practice
The Widening Participation Unit also utilises evaluation data for the purpose of academic research output and engaging in a community of practice with leading Australian educational equity researchers and practioners.
Refugee Education Special Interest Group
This Special Interest Group (SIG) is a group of people from the community, higher education, vocational education and school sectors who have an interest in supporting educational opportunities for students from refugee backgrounds. More details http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/educationsig
NSW Humanitarian Award 2016
Macquarie University’s LEAP – Macquarie Mentoring (Refugee Mentoring) Program has been recognised with the NSW Humanitarian Award 2016 in Education. More details http://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2016/06/20/macquarie-university-refugee-mentoring-program-winner-of-nsw-humanitarian-award-2016/#ixzz4F6g9voEQ
Forthcoming in “Bridges, Pathways and Transitions: International Innovations in Widening Participation” to be published by Elsevier in 2016.
Singh, S. and Tregale, R. (2015) From homeland to home: Widening Participation through the LEAP - Macquarie Mentoring (Refugee Mentoring) Program. International Studies in Widening Participation, Vol. 2, Issue 1, pp. 15-27
Higher Education Conferences 2016:
Students, Transitions, Achievement, Retention & Success (UniSTARS) http://unistars.org/program/2016-program/workshops-2016/
Transition Support for Students from Refugee Backgrounds in Higher Education - Workshop Presentation by Ruth Tregale and Sonal Singh.
Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA)
- Bridging the Gap for Students from Refugee Backgrounds: LEAP - University Preparedness (LEAP - UP) - Presentation by Ruth Tregale and Sonal Singh Widening Participation Unit, Macquarie University
- (Re) claiming social capital for students from refugee backgrounds: lessons from OLT research - Joint presentation by University of Newcastle, Macquarie University and Curtin University (Evonne Irwin ,Sally Baker , Ruth Tregale , Sonal Singh , Jaya Dantas , Shelley Gower)
Evaluation of Bridges to Higher Education
Read the KPMG Evaluation to Bridges to Higher Education Final Report 2015
National Priorities Pool 2016
LEAP - University Preparedness (LEAP - UP): Developing a tertiary enabling program for low-SES students from refugee backgrounds
Macquarie University has been awarded a National Priorities Pool grant under the 2016 Federal Government Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) to build on the success of its LEAP-Macquarie Mentoring (Refugee Mentoring) Program.
Specifically, the LEAP-University Preparedness project (LEAP-UP) will review international best practice and initiatives at Australian universities, develop a pilot enabling program specific to the needs of students from refugee backgrounds, and establish a National Community of Practice comprising researchers, equity practitioners and partner organisations active in supporting students from refugee backgrounds.
Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) funding 2015
The Widening Participation Unit has been successful in the latest round of Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) funding for diverse educational projects.
The project "(Re)claiming social capital: improving language and cultural pathways for refugee students into Australian higher education" will identify the pathways taken by Humanitarian Entrant Background students to enter higher education and how these students experience their transitions into and through undergraduate study. The project is in partnership with University of Newcastle and Curtin University.
To find out more about the OLT funding, visit their website: www.olt.gov.au