Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 53
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Towards a model for colleague support : matching support to needs and contexts
    Rogers, William A (1947-) ( 1999)
    This thesis explores the issue of colleague support in schools observed in five case site schools over several years. The study sought to ascertain how colleagues perceive, rate, utilise and value colleague support and the effect of colleague support across a school culture. The research study is predominantly qualitative using participant observation and interviews, over several years. The interviews are based on an earlier pilot study (conducted in 1995-96) and a later survey of each of the five case site schools that make up this research study. The thesis outlines how colleagues describe, value, and utilise colleague support and proposes a typology of support based in grounded theory. This typology asserts that schools have definable `colleague-shape; based in characteristics and protocols of support that have an increasing degree of school-wide consciousness. The typology, and emerging protocols, it is hoped, have both a descriptive and diagnostic facility and an adaptive utility. This thesis concludes with a chapter on adaptive facility proposing suggestions, arising from this study, that might increase a school's conscious awareness and use of colleague support.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The rapid characterisation of pulpwood quality of plantation eucalypts using near-infrared spectroscopy
    Schimleck, Laurence R ( 1996)
    Chemical pulp yield is a tree breeding trait of great importance to the pulp and paper industry. Small improvements in pulp yield can provide large economic benefits for forest owners with a successful breeding program. Laborious and expensive methods of direct measurement for pulp yield presently limit the number of trees that are tested and therefore hinder potential improvement. A method that provides a rapid, cheap measure of yield is required. Attempts to do so through correlating easily measured parameters such as hot water extractives and basic density with yield have been unsuccessful. Recent studies have indicated that vibrational spectroscopic methods such as near- and mid-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS and MIRS) have the potential to predict pulp yield. The major objective of this study is to determine whether near-infrared spectroscopy could be used to predict the pulpwood quality, specifically pulp yield, of plantation eucalypts with sufficient accuracy to be of use in evaluating woods from tree improvement programs. Analysis of any product by NIRS is subject to several sources of error. A review of the agricultural industry literature identifies several important sources of error in NIRS analysis. Important factors include: the particle size distribution and mean particle size of the sample; the type of mill used for grinding; the moisture content of the sample; the sample temperature at the time of testing; the basic density of the sample and the species. In this thesis, the influence of a number of these factors on the NIRS analysis of wood is examined and a protocol for the analysis of wood using NIRS developed. Initially, NIRS is used to model and predict pulp yield in thirty samples of native forest E. globulus woods that gave a very wide range of pulp yields (37.6 % to 60.2 %). Regions of the second derivative NIR spectra display variation that could be directly related to variations in pulp yield. Calibration models are developed using simple linear regression and partial least squares (PLS) regression on data from both normal NIR spectra and second derivative NIR spectra. The model developed by using PLS regression with second derivative NIR spectra demonstrates the best predictive ability (R-value = 0.983, standard error of calibration (SEC) = 1.34 and standard error of prediction (SEP) = 1.65). However, the SEP is too high for practical purposes. The errors are high because insufficient samples were available to represent the extreme variation. Calibration models are also developed with regions of the NIR spectrum removed. Removal of the water bands (1350-1450 and 1848-1968 nm) improves the SEP only marginally. It was decided that future models would be developed with full spectrum second derivative spectra and PLS regression. Twelve models for the prediction of kraft pulp yield are developed using plantation grown E. globulus and E. nitens from sites in Tasmania and Victoria. R-values range from 0.892 to 0.963, SEC values range from 0.32 to 0.92 and SEP values range from 0.63 to 1.46. Seven models have SEP values of less than one. The low SEP values of several of the models indicate that NIRS could be used as a practical alternative to laboratory pulping. The improvement is attributed to having larger sample sets and samples that were able to better represent the narrower range of environmental and genetic variation found in plantation forests. The chemical components of eucalypt woods that influence pulp yield are modelled and predicted using NIRS analysis. Eleven E. globulus and twenty-one E. nitens samples are used. The chemical components modelled include: cellulose, glucan, hemicellulose and xylan. Models for E. globulus have R-values ranging from 0.995 to 0.731 and SEC values ranging from 0.04 to 1.64. The qualities of the models were judged by cross validation procedures as there were too few samples to reserve a separate test set. Models for E. nitens have R-values ranging from 0.988 to 0.894, SEC values that range from 0.19 to 0.93 and SEP values that range from 0.78 to 1.85. The use of larger sample sets should improve the models and reduce errors. Principal component analysis (PCA) is used to classify samples based on their NIR spectra. PCA is a data decomposition technique that can be used to extract the systematic variation that exists in a single data set. Two-dimensional PCA scores plots can be used to examine how a number of samples relate to each other. Such plots are used to distinguish between woods of high and low pulp yield; between hardwoods and softwoods; between eucalypt species (E. globulus, E. grandis and E. nitens) and between sites the trees of specific species were grown on (Tasmania and Victoria). PCA could be a very useful tool for breeding programs, perhaps providing a simple means of eliminating poor performing trees. The within-tree variation of pulp yield is also examined using NIRS. If trees are to be sampled non-destructively, ie. by cores, an understanding of within-tree variation is necessary for the identification of representative sampling points. Individual ring samples have different NIR spectra. The spectra of rings 5 and 6 (where the heartwood-sapwood boundary is located) demonstrate the greatest differences. Patterns of radial and longitudinal variation are different for each tree. Radial variation of pulp yield at 5, 20 and 60 % of total tree height is basically linear (average of 15 trees). Longitudinal variation (average of 3 trees) of pulp yield is not linear, the model used to describe it is of the form y = a + bx + cxA. Maps of withintree variation demonstrate that yield is variable within trees and that each tree has a different pattern of variation. The outer region of the tree between 15 and 40 % of total tree height has wood giving the highest pulp yield. Samples from 10 % of total tree height (2.2 m) gives the best correlation with whole tree pulp yield. The north and south hemispheres of a single tree are examined. Within this tree the yield variation is found to be symmetrical. The heritability (h2) of pulp yield for 7 year old E. nitens is estimated using 588 samples whose yield has been estimated using NIRS. Heritability estimates of 0.34 and 0.31 are obtained for the inner and outer rings respectively. The estimates are lower than expected based on previous estimates. PCA is used to examine the variation present in the calibration and the unknown data sets. It is found that the calibration data derived from whole-tree average samples do not contain all the variation present in the unknown data obtained from within the inner and outer rings. Improved heritability estimates are expected to be obtained by adding data to the calibration obtained from within the rings. It is demonstrated that NIRS can successfully predict pulp yield and a number of other chemical components of wood. The success of several models indicates that NIRS has the potential to be a very important tool for tree breeding programs. Consistency in sample preparation and presentation is important. Care must be taken that the proper samples are selected for calibration.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Pre-anthesis development in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) : evaluation of factors affecting apical development and spikelet number per spike on the main culm
    Kernich, Graeme ( 1995)
    The influence of a number of environmental factors and cultivar differences on the pre-anthesis period of development in barley were investigated in this thesis. Preanthesis development in barley was examined by dividing this period into three phases, namely the leaf initiation, spikelet initiation and spikelet growth phases. The lengths of the latter two phases showed substantial variation between cultivars, which indicates that it may be feasible to manipulate the durations of these phases, while maintaining a constant time to anthesis. In particular, there was a negative association between durations of the spikelet initiation and spikelet growth phases, making it possible to maintain a constant time to anthesis despite variation in the duration of these phases. The number of spikelet primordia formed in the developing spike of the main culm exhibited little variation between cultivars. The rate and duration of spikelet initiation were negatively correlated and both had no association with either maximum spikelet primordia number or final spikelet number. Variation in spikelet number per spike appeared to be maintained more because of a varying level of spikelet abortion rather than differences in the number of spikelet primordia formed in the developing spike of the main culm. A separate study examining the related species Hordeum spontaneum, confirmed variation for the durations of the three phases, combinations of which indicated the feasibility that such variation could provide genotypes wherein a constant time to anthesis could be maintained. Investigations of the effects of four environmental factors, photoperiod, temperature, irradiance and fertilizer addition, on pre-anthesis development in barley were also undertaken. Increased photoperiod was shown to reduce the durations of the three phases in photoperiod-sensitive barley cultivars. Differences between the three phases in their sensitivity to photoperiod were observed, with the spikelet initiation phase proportionately the most sensitive phase and the leaf initation phase the least sensitive. This difference in sensitivity between phases also differed in magnitude between cultivars. That is, in one study, the spring cultivar Galleon showed a greater sensitivity to photoperiod in the spikelet initiation than the leaf initiation phase in contrast to Bandulla, where the difference between photoperiod sensitivities of each phase was small. Both of these cultivars exhibited satisfaction of the photoperiod response at a similar photoperiod (ca. 14-15 h). That is, no further changes in durations of the leaf initiation and spikelet initiation phases occurred under longer photoperiods. Transfer of cultivars between different photoperiods indicated that the duration of a particular development phase was determined by both the influence of prior photoperiod as well as current photoperiod, indicating the presence of a 'memorized photoperiod effect'. This effect was present from the beginning of spikelet primordia production to anthesis. The 'memory effect' of photoperiod on development appears to be interactive with current photoperiod, rather than additive, because the effects of the direct influence of photoperiod and those of prior photoperiods were smaller when they were coincident compared with independently. The duration of the pre-anthesis period of photoperiod-sensitive cultivars grown at similar levels of irradiance, but different photoperiods was found to respond more to variation in photoperiod than irradiance. High irradiance levels reduced the duration of the pre-anthesis period slightly, and increased both final leaf and spikelet numbers. The rate of change of photoperiod has been found in other cereal crops to influence the time to anthesis. The present study indicated that the rate of change of photoperiod had no effect on the durations of the leaf and spikelet initation phases independent of that of mean photoperiod. There were also no effects on leaf or spikelet number per spike, or the rate of leaf appearance, in contrast to earlier reports. Increasing the mean daily temperature within the range of 11-27C was found to reduce the duration of the spikelet growth phase (expressed in calendar time) in barley, although this was dependent on photoperiod. However, in terms of thermal time, increased temperature lengthened the amount of thermal time taken to complete the spikelet growth phase, which is in agreement with several wheat studies (Pirasteh & Walsh, 1980; Rawson, 1993). The relationship between temperature and rate of development did not appear to be linear at supra-optimal temperatures (above X19C, Ellis et al., 1988) although this was not conclusively tested. Further research is required to fully understand the relationship between the rate of development in barley and temperature. The proportion of spikelet abortion in the developing spike of the main culm was found to be increase with high temperatures and this was dependent upon cultivar, but longer durations of the spikelet growth phase were not associated with increased spikelet numbers. The application of fertilizer nitrogen and phosphorus had no significantly consistent effects on time from sowing to anthesis in barley, or the durations of the three individual developmental phases, suggesting that models of phenological development need not incorporate fertilizer parameters. Irradiance level was shown to influence the level of spikelet abortion of the main culm spike and occurred in barley 11-15 days before anthesis when the spike and culm were rapidly accumulating dry matter. Spikelets found to abort were later-developing and smaller in size than those which survived. The coincidence of abortion of spikelets with maximum accumulation of dry matter in the culm and spike indicates the possibility that the level of abortion in barley may be associated with culm-spike assimilate competition. Spikelet number and grain number per spike, and tiller number increased with increasing nitrogen application. It is proposed that breeding to achieve lower levels of abortion of spikelet primordia could possibly lead to an increased yield potential of the barley spike. The thesis contains a seven chapters; a review, five experimental chapters and a concluding chapter.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Children's perceptions of changes in families
    Ryan, Maureen ( 1991)
    The three studies reported in this thesis take as their subjects over one thousand "ordinary primary school children" from state primary schols in the western region of Melbourne. The sample has not been drawn using methods such as newspaper requests (Burns, 1980), from Parents without Partners groups (Kurdek and Siesky, 1978), from university towns (Franz and Mell, 1981) or through court records (Hess and Camara, 1979; Dunlop and Burns, 1988). The western region of Melbourne is socioeconomically and ethnically diverse and predicted to grow faster than most other areas of Melbourne in the next decades. In essence, these children are that future. Certainly, their perceptions of families and of changes in families will help to shape their own futures. Children have much to say about families as has been noted in studies by Ochiltree and Amato (1985) and Goodnow and Burns (1985). Children in Studies 1 and 2 in this thesis wrote eloquently and often with passion about families generally and about family changes specifically. Previous studies (Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton, 1981; Silcock and Sadler, 1980; Wallerstein and Kelly, 1980; Riach, 1983; Ochiltree and Amato (1985) and Cooper (1986) have looked at children's perceptions of families. Some, like Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton, (1981) and Cooper (1986) have drawn attention to gender differences; others, like Silcock and Sadler, (1980), to techniques employed in the collection of data. In addition, Selman and his colleagues (1979, 1980, 1986) have focussed on children's developing understanding of social relations. Selman's stages of development of social understanding, like those of Hoffman (1983) for empathy development are based on Piagetian stages of cognitive development. The present studies are an attempt to draw together around a single theme, children's perceptions of families, the impact of a range of techniques for data collection (as Silcock and Sadler, (1980) have suggested is appropriate) and consideration of age/stage differences as defined by Selman et al. Additionally, gender differences are investigated as suggested by Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg -Halton, (1981). In Study 1, a group of forty Grade 5/6 children completed a questionnaire, Children's Perceptions of Changes in Families. Subsequently, this group of forty was divided into a target and a control group. The target group of children took part in an eight week videotape/discussion program with family matters as content while the control group continued with general classroom activities. At the completion of this, children were presented with the responses they had prepared previously to the questionnaire and invited to change these in any way they considered appropriate. Analysis revealed that elaboration occurred in the responses of children in both target and control groups. Statistical analysis revealed very little in the way of differences between the responses made by those children who had taken part in the videotape/discussion program and those who had not. Coming out of this study, however, were gender differences and tendencies for children to describe parents in stereotypic roles which are reminescent of other larger studies (Goodnow and Burns, 1985; Cooper, 1986; Ochiltree and Amato, 1985). Girls, for example, expressed far more interest than boys in the experience of caring for a new baby; boys referred more than did girls to the fights likely to ensue should a new child come into the family. Father's movement from the children's home to live elsewhere was considered unhappy because of his loss as a playmate; in mother's case, it was her inability to continue caring for the children which was noted. Such patterns were revealed in the content analysis of the children's responses to the questionnaire. The children in this first study served as a window into the other studies reported in this thesis in that the researcher spent considerable time speaking with both groups through their two completions of the questionnaire and with the target group during the videotape/discussion program. In addition, statements made by these forty children were used as the basis of Study 3. In Studies 2 and 3, children prepared written responses to the tasks set them. In Study 3, 1118 Grade 3/4 and Grade 5/6 children drawn from twelve state primary schools in the western region of Melbourne were read statements by their teacher and invited, on one occasion, to indicate their thoughts about each statement and, on another, to indicate their feelings. The phrases from which children were invited to select in indicating their responses were based on the definition of problem and expression of feelings components of the Interpersonal Negotiation Strategies Model (Selman et al., 1986b) and were representative of levels of complexity of thought and feeling described in the model. Girls' marked superiority over boys in their choice of feeling responses representing higher levels of complexity was the most significant finding in this study. This finding coupled with findings from Study 2 that girls made significantly more references than boys in their descriptions of families to emotional aspects of families makes gender differences a powerful finding in the studies presented in the thesis. The emotional aspects of families to which girls referred significantly more often than boys in responses to the question, "What is a Family?" were love, care, sharing/belonging, understanding problems/talking. In contrast, boys and younger children (Grade 3/4) referred significantly more often than girls and older children (Grade 5/6) to family structure. The finding that older children made significantly more references than did the younger children to many aspects of families is not surprising and likely to be due to their general experience and superior verbal ability (Jacklin and Maccoby, 1983). The gender differences in the content analysis was reinforced in coding undertaken of children's responses according to levels based on Bruss-Saunders' levels (1978) of social understanding of parent-child relationships. Here, the descriptions written by Grade 5/6 girls were coded as representing highest levels of complexity and the descriptions written by Grade 3/4 boys as representing lowest levels of complexity. In the studies, levels of complexity of children's responses are considered according to theories of cognitive development. In addition, the influence of contextual factors on the thoughts and feelings children express about families are discussed. Questions about the relationship between these two are raised with regard to the capacity children acquire for coping in their present and future families.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Ideology critique and the production of meaning : a critical approach to selected urban education material
    Unger, Zita (1948-) ( 1989)
    Ideology critique, when applied by educational research to the ideational content of curriculum materials, has evoked negative connotations of partiality and bias, mis-representation of social reality, and ultimately, of untruth. This thesis attempts to assert a more positive sense of "meaning production" for curriculum critique and shift emphasis away from representation towards signification. Part 1 reviews the management of questions of ideology and education by the sociology of school knowledge and curriculum research. I argue in Chapter 1 that strategies of ideology critique, along structuralist and culturalist lines of difference, have inadequately addressed issues of critical subjectivity, hegemony, and social transformation that is posed by radical education. Four curriculum studies of text book analysis are discussed in detail, in terms of their attachment to the sociology of school knowledge and in terms of the "bias and balance" discourses that they produce. Meaning production is used to enhance, rather than displace, practices of ideology critique, in ways that the case study analysis seeks to develop. The urbanism kit that is analysed in Part 2 is undertaken as a means to ground these issues, rather than to render a consummate curriculum analysis. Critical reading of the case study materials in Chapter 2 is enabled by the urban theory of Manual Castells. His ideology critique of urbanism and reformulations of urban system, urban planning, and urban social movements, are utilised to the extent that theoretic productions of the case study materials in Chapter 3 are analysed in terms of their constitutive discourses, rather than in terms of determinations about whether they are biased or ideological. Chapter 4 examines this process of signification further. Our inquiry shows that not only are understandings about "the city" produced, but, discourses about knowledge-production and about individual subjects are set up at the same time. Analysis of the case study material also indicates that balance is not necessarily built-in as a result of a commitment to provide diverse expert opinion. This has implications for those practices of curriculum criticism and curriculum construction which attempt to locate and redress bias as well as promote critical thinking. The directions suggested here are disposed towards problematising categories of analysis, especially categories such as "society" and the "individual", and towards opening up questions about what is produced as knowledge.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The struggle to achieve : the Vietnamese experience of secondary schools in working class neighbourhoods of Melbourne, 1986
    Mundy, Kieran Graham ( 1990)
    Within the vast scope and complexity of the refugee experience this study deals with a simply defined, yet central issue to the settlement of young immigrants from Viet Nam in Australia. That is, the differing impact of personal factors preconditioning attitudes and values towards education, and school ecology on their educational trajectories and social destinations. To answer this question, the location occupied by this immigrant group within the school system was initially determined, and subsequently the influence of school organizational structure and classroom practice on educational performance in these settings was described and explained. Vietnamese pupils, their teachers and peers in 16 randomly selected government high schools in Victoria, and those persons responsible for the child's welfare in Australia provided rich and varied information for analysis. Detailed interpretation of this comprehensive data-base focused on one school representative of the wider sample. The study found that while educational trajectories and social destinations are largely controlled by the working class location Vietnamese youth occupy in the secondary school system, the impact of this setting is mediated by an exceptional determination, on their part, to escape the influence of multiple social factors which influence the outlooks and achievements of children, whoever they may be, who occupy these sites. Despite an heroic commitment by teachers in these schools and the determination of the Vietnamese to exploit, to the maximum, the limited opportunities available to them, the dependence of these young immigrants and their families on education for social advancement renders them vulnerable to failure. The study demonstrates, that despite the illusion of democratized educational theory and practice that these educational settings suggest, the reality is that educational conservative structures mitigate against social advancement. These institutional barriers, it is shown, operate on two levels. Firstly, the comprehensive curriculum plays a central role by disproportionately directing these young immigrants into the theoretical mathematics and physical sciences, a process consecrating them as an academic elite, while at the same time confirming the lowly position they occupy in the social hierarchy of their school and neighbourhood peers. Secondly, the study demonstrates how academic streaming is an aggravating circumstance coming on top of the other inequalities suffered by all children in these settings. Not only do the out-of-school activities of these young immigrants not support their curriculum placement, but teachers tend to misjudge Vietnamese classroom conformity as scholasticism, not passivity. Thus, rather than viewing this exceptional behaviour in working class settings as an indication of the struggle with which these young people have to cope, teacher definition of their school experience sees it as proof of an effective classroom process and of learning taking place. The study concludes that while the actual relationship that exists between the teachers and Vietnamese youth, and the schools they attend and the neighbourhoods these schools serve, remains unchanged, the price the Vietnamese have to pay for perceived scholasticism is loss of control of their immediate school experience and authorship of their own lives.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Social area indicators and educational achievement
    Ross, Kenneth N (1947-) ( 1982)
    This study was concerned with the development and validation of a national indicator of educational disadvantage which would be suitable for guiding resource allocation decisions associated with the Disadvantaged Schools Program in Australia. The national indicator was constructed by using a series of stepwise regression analyses in order to obtain a linear combination of census based descriptions of school neighbourhoods which would be highly correlated with school mean achievement scores. A correlational investigation of the properties of this indicator showed that it was an appropriate tool for the identification of schools in which there were high proportions of students who (1) had not mastered the basic skills of Literacy and Numeracy, (2) displayed behavioural characteristics which formed barriers to effective learning, and (3) lived in neighbourhoods having social profiles which were typical of communities suffering from deprivation and poverty. A theoretical model was developed in order to estimate the optimal level of precision with which indicators of educational disadvantage could be used to deliver resources to those students who were in most need of assistance. This model was used to demonstrate that resource allocation programs which employ schools as the units of identification and funding must take into account the nature of the variation of student characteristics between and within schools. The technique of factor analysis was employed to investigate the dimensions of residential differentiation associated with the neighbourhoods surrounding Australian schools. Three dimensions emerged from these analyses which were congruent with the postulates of the Shevky- Bell Social Area Analysis model. The interrelationships between these dimensions and school scores on the national indicator of educational disadvantage presented a picture of the 'social landscape' surrounding educationally disadvantaged schools in Australia as one in which there were: high concentrations of persons in the economically and socially vulnerable position of having low levels of educational attainment and low levels of occupational skill, low concentrations of persons living according to the popular model of Australian family life characterized by single family households, stable families, and separate dwellings, high concentrations of persons likely to have language communication problems because they were born in non-English speaking countries.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Problems with power, problems with Foucault : a political analysis of class, knowledge and history
    Wickham, Gary ( 1985)
    The primary focus of the thesis is power analysis. The thesis is divided into four parts. The first part is an appraisal and critique of Michel Foucault's theory of power, involving an argument that power (and politics) should be understood only in specific sites. The second part, power and class, involves an argument that the concept of class is of little value for specific power analysis. The third part, power and knowledge, involves an argument that the politics of knowledge should be understood only at the specific points of the production and reproduction of particular knowledges. This part also involves an argument that the category intellectuals is of little value for specific analyses of the politics of knowledges, that those agents often referred to as intellectuals are better understood in their specific form(s) at the specific points of the production or reproduction of particular knowledges. The fourth part, power and history, involves an argument that the politics of history should be understood only at the specific points of the production or reproduction of particular histories. This part also involves an argument that the politics of particular histories can usefully be analysed in a way similar to that some recent literary theory suggests as a productive way of analysing the politics of particular literary texts.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The Language Development Project, Phase II : a case study in co-operative curriculum development and the role of formative evaluation
    Piper, Kevin ( 1985)
    The Language Development Project was a major initiative in national curriculum development, the first of its kind in language education in Australia. The study focuses on three major themes or constructs underlying Phase II of the project, its developmental phase and explores their implications for national curriculum development in the Australian federal context and for English language education in Australian schools. As such it is essentially an exercise in construct evaluation, a formative approach to the evaluation of outcomes. Central to the conception of Phase II of the Language Development Project was a view of language and learning inherited from Phase I of the project and encapsulated in its tripartite model of language education learning language, learning through language, learning about language. Equally central to the work of the project was a view of curriculum development predicated on the belief that there was a need for a national approach to language education and that this national approach could best be achieved through a co-operative effort involving the centre (CDC) and the States and Territories. Underlying this co-operative model was a commitment to school-based curriculum development and to involving teachers in the development of curriculum materials. The most important feature of these central constructs was that they were developing models, based on the assumption that curriculum development, at least in the language area, is an evolutionary process, moving through exploration and discovery towards definition. This open-ended, emergent quality, together with the co-operative nature of the project, placed particular demands on the design of an evaluation which would be responsive to the changing needs of the project at the national level while respecting the autonomous nature of the component projects. The study analyses the development of these three major constructs - the tripartite model of language education, the cooperative model of curriculum development and the collaborative evaluation model - as they were exemplified in the experience of the project examines their relationship to the wider context of practice, and explores their implications for the development of a practical framework for the English language curriculum the resolution of ambiguities in the co-operative model of curriculum development and the development of a reconstructed model for the formative evaluation of co-operative national programs.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The decentralisation of curriculum decision making in Australia : developments and effects in three states
    Sturman, Andrew (1948-) ( 1988)
    The decentralisation of educational decision making and the involvement of a wider range of participants in decision-making processes have been key features of the administration of education in Australia over the past two decades. Among the arguments supporting reforms to the centralised education systems in Australia was the belief that decentralisation would lead to the development of curricula more suited to the needs of students. However, the relationship between changes in the control of curriculum decision making and the nature of the curriculum has not been well researched. This study was designed to address this deficiency. The freedom of teachers to make decisions about the curriculum is constrained by many factors. These can be grouped into a number of 'frames': the system, school, community and individual. The system frame refers to the influence of educational offices and assessment authorities; the school frame is concerned with the role of different school-based personnel such as administrators and faculty coordinators; the community frame refers to the participation of parents or other community members; and the individual frame is concerned with how individual teachers' values or epistemologies might translate into curriculum practices or preferences. These frames relate to different types of decentralisation that have emerged to a lesser or greater extent in Australia: regionalisation, school-based decision making, teacher-based decision making and community participation. This study sought to address the effects on the curriculum of types of decentralisation by examining the relative influence of the four frames. Three States, which had experienced different degrees of decentralisation, were selected for historical and current comparison and within each a number of schools were selected for case study. The schools were grouped according to their administrative and curricular styles, and according to teachers' perceptions of the influence of the community. Within schools, teachers were grouped according to their epistemological views. Data were collected through the administration of questionnaires and through interviews with teachers and administrators. The analyses revealed that in the program in practice there were considerable similarities in teachers' responses. Notwithstanding this, the system, school and individual frame were important influences on the curriculum. There was little evidence that the community was directly affecting curriculum decision making, although this frame did have an indirect influence. In the ideal program, the State differences were reduced and the school differences almost completely disappeared. On the other hand, teachers' epistemological views continued to be associated with the curriculum variables measured and teachers argued that the community should have somewhat greater influence than it had in practice. Among the findings reported, it was found that teachers in the most centralised system, in more tightly coupled schools and with a 'technicist' epistemology were, compared with their counterparts in decentralised systems, in loosely coupled schools and with an 'hermeneutic' epistemology, more likely to favour what might be called traditional curriculum structures and teaching practices.