Evaluation of the Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy Program

13 May 2020

Females of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent are considered the most disadvantaged and socially marginalised group in Australia today. Beginning in the early school years, there is clear evidence of a significant educational gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian female students. Whilst the number of initiatives focussed on the educational engagement and support of Indigenous boys has increased in recent times, the same cannot be said for their female counterparts. While some progress has been made, however, much more still needs to be done to see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females truly supported and empowered to achieve their educational and future career objectives.

Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy is an in-school program aimed at supporting female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students in Queensland, and NSW. The aim of the program is to empower young Indigenous females to not only achieve academically but also make their mark in the society. Through mentoring, rewards for school attendance and good behaviour, guidance for year 12 completion and career pathway development, as well as access to Brisbane Broncos staff, players, facilities and events the program aim to empower students to make informed decisions regarding their schooling and career prospects. Further to this the benefits of investing in the wellbeing and personal development of young Indigenous females does not stop at the individuals themselves. When given appropriate tools and opportunities, these young women can become ambassadors for their gender, generation and culture, empowered to foster positive change for the benefit of their families and communities alike.

The focus of this research is to determine the overall effectiveness of the program on student school attendance, year 12 completion rates, school disciplinary actions, and in-class behaviour, effort and achievement scores across program schools using ‘Queensland Education longitudinal administrative data’. By treating the evaluation of the Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy program as a natural experiment, educational outcomes of students exposed to the program will be compared to the outcomes of a synthetically generated control group (a similar group of students who did not attend the Beyond the Broncos Girls Academy program). The evaluation is currently underway and a final report will be made available once the evaluation is complete.

If you’re interested in collaborating with ISSR on any aspect of this research agenda please contact issr.research@uq.edu.au