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Issues in Educational Research, 2022, Vol 32(3), 925-942.
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Improving educational outcomes: Why don't remote schools in Australia measure up?

Karen Cornelius and Kerrie Mackey-Smith
James Cook University, Australia

The link between one's postcode and probable school 'success' is well recognised. For those in remote Australian schools, it is an indicator that the further one lives from the metropolis, the less likely they are to be successful. Improved educational outcomes are desirable for students in remote communities to broaden their future life choices. This paper considers what neo-conservative policies around 'improvement' and 'success' - largely formed and mandated in metropolitan centres of education governance - mean for students living in remote locations. Using an example of leading a remote Australian school, we consider if educational success for students in remote schools can be readily evidenced through standardised testing alone. We also consider what this means for teachers, teaching in a remote site. This article draws primarily on the experiences of a school leader conducting an autoethnography, following their three-year tenure as a leader in a remote school. Through applied qualitative inquiry, drawing in particular on reflexive self-study, the paper explores one remote school's response to calls from governments for 'improvement'.
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Authors: Karen Cornelius is currently a PhD candidate at James Cook University. Karen has had extensive metropolitan, rural and remote Australian and overseas educational leadership experience in schools, regional offices, and state office. Her interests include educational justice, leadership, and remote schools.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7897-9691
Email: karen.cornelius@my.jcu.edu.au

Kerrie Mackey-Smith is a Senior Lecturer at James Cook University. In her childhood, Kerrie lived in remote areas of northern Australia and this experience influences her work today. She has a commitment to educational justice for marginalised groups of young people, particularly for those disadvantaged by remoteness and poverty.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7866-4646
Email: kerrie.mackeysmith@jcu.edu.au

Please cite as: Cornelius, K. & Mackey-Smith, K. (2022). Improving educational outcomes: Why don't remote schools in Australia measure up? Issues in Educational Research, 32(3), 925-942. http://www.iier.org.au/iier32/cornelius.pdf

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Created 24 September 2022. Last correction: 24 September 2022. Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]