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The use of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation as an indicator to evaluate the impact of policy on widening

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    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in Scottish Affairs. The Version of Record will be available online at: euppublishing.com/doi/full/10.3366/scot.2019.0296

    Accepted author manuscript, 378 KB, PDF document

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-433
JournalScottish Affairs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2019


Policy on widening access to higher education in Scotland is defined mainly in terms of students who live in deprived areas as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. Although area measures can be informative, and are convenient because they require only a postcode to classify any person into a deprivation category, they are crude. We use data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the Growing Up in Scotland Survey and the Scottish Household Survey to analyse the extent to which neighbourhood measures can be used as the basis of valid indicators of widening access. We conclude that they are flawed, although not wholly useless, and ought to be supplemented by more valid measures of students’ social circumstances.

    Research areas

  • higher education, widening access, Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, social class

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