The closing of the gender gap in UK higher education

Tak Wing Chan and Elina Kilpi-Jakonen, University of Oxford

[Project number 30134]

This project seeks to explain the closing of the gender gap at the first degree level that happened in the second half of the 20th century. We shall match information from earlier census (e.g. parental education and family composition of teenagers) to those from subsequent census (principally, educational attainment) and explore with statistical tools (e.g. logistic regression or loglinear models) how family backround is associated with educational outcome, whether that assocation varies by gender, and whether that association has changed between birth cohorts.

LS data will be used to look at the effect of mother's and father's education as well as that of family composition at age 14-16 on degree attainment (at age 24-26) by gender. In particular, we will ould look at the whether the education of the same-sex parent has a greater effect than that of the other parent, whether family composition has a differential impact on boys and girls, and whether these relationships have changed between the three cohorts that we are able to study with the LS.

The purpose of using the LS is to check the reliability of results obtained from other surveys, such as the cohort studies. It would be important to have results that are not affected by attrition in the way that the cohort studies are. Additional work will also be done using cross-sectional surveys. Again, the LS will give some measures of reliability of these results as it does not rely on retrospective questions.