Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Influences on engineering education in Australia
    Zorbas, Nicholas ( 1976)
    This thesis is concerned with the identification and examination of the various types of influences on professional engineering education in Australia. It commences with a study of what a professional person in general, and a professional engineer in particular, should be, and describes the functions and characteristics of such a person. This is followed by an examination of curriculum design, and how the curricula of professional courses are controlled by professional societies. The various influences on engineering curricula are then considered in detail in four broad categories, namely historical influences, formal influences, informal influences, and societal influences within each of these categories, various tapes of influences are identified, and their method of application, and relative effectiveness, discussed. Apart from the chapters on terminology and historical influences, which have been researched from existing publications, the content of the thesis is original, and, as far as can be ascertained, is the first attempt to examine the subject of Australian engineering education in a sociological context.
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    The effects of schools on achievement in science
    Owen, John M (1943-) ( 1975)
    The study sought to identify factors which were based in schools which affected the performance of sixth form students in science in Victorian schools, In order to identify school effects, allowance was made using multiple regression analysis for factors which were shown to contribute to academic performance but were those over which the school had no control. Use was made of information collected during a. study of science achievement by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). A sample of 37 schools was used the probability of selection of the school was proportional to its enrolment. Within each school, a random sample of students in the sixth form was made to select the students to take part in the testing program. Information collected enabled a predicted score for each school to be made and this was compared with the actual score obtained by averaging the scores of each student in the sample. Two groups of five schools were then selected for comparative study; one group which had performed better than expected and the other which had performed below expectations. The comparison of the two groups of schools to identify school factors was achieved by the study of the responses of teachers, students and school principals on survey instruments. In addition a visit was made to each school to gather further information. These procedures enabled the identification of school characteristics which were seen as contributing factors to the performance of students on tests of science achievement.
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    Statistics of public expenditure on education in Australia : requirements for the formation of national policy
    Segall, Patsy (1942-) ( 1976)
    In Australia's federal system the provision of educational services is the responsibility of the state governments. However, the federal government has also acquired responsibilities for. education. Since the second world war, the state governments have been dependent on the federal government for a large proportion of the funds needed to discharge their responsibilities. More directly, the federal government has greatly extended the scope of its activities in education, mainly through the use of specific. purpose grants to the states. By 1970 these grants affected all levels of education in the states. To be effective, national 'educational policies should take account of differences between the states as well as of 'national needs. Necessary information includes national statistics which are compiled on the same basis for each of . the states. The coverage and quality of national educational statistics has improved considerably, but there are still deficiencies. In particular, the statistics of public expenditure on education do not provide an adequate account of the states individually, or of national trends. Unpublished records of the Australian Bureau of Statistics provide the basis for a set of figures of public expenditure on education which are both more comprehensive and more detailed than those published. Analysis of these figures for the period 1963-64 to 1973-74 shows large differences in the patterns of educational expenditure in each of the states. Nationally there have been considerable changes in the composition of total public outlay on education, the rapid growth of the tertiary sector outside universities being particularly noteworthy. Official statistics of this kind are needed to make possible an effective assessment of the priorities and directions of Australian education.
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    The nature and organization of secondary "method" programmes in teacher education : a comparison between selected institutions in Australia and England
    Stutterd, Tony ( 1977)
    Although Method of Teaching courses are conducted in all institutions preparing secondary teachers in Victoria, South Australia and England (the regions examined in this thesis), little research has been conducted in this field. Programmes tend to be derived from a combination of factors: personal teaching experience, intuitive judgements about student needs, the practice of colleagues and their comments on the lecturer's own course, and folklore. Whilst the survey on which this thesis is based revealed that instruction in teaching techniques and curriculum design and the provision of information about resources are given high priority in Method courses, this seems to be the result of a pragmatic rather than a coherently developed theoretical approach to the problem of what should be included in such courses. There is a lack of agreement among the lecturers responsible for this aspect of teacher education on the most effective way of building Method of Teaching into the administrative structures. The existing patterns - either including Method in academic subject departments or incorporating Method in a School or Department of Education - have their advantages and disadvantages. It would seem that historical and political rather than strictly educational reasons account for the particular format chosen in each institution. The survey showed that the staff who plan and teach courses in Method are either part-time practising teachers or have taught in schools in recent years, and the majority have less experience in tertiary education than other colleagues in the institution. This may explain why their status is relatively low and why they have rarely managed to develop structures which could enhance their group identity. In this thesis, some possible ways of developing both such a sense of identity and a more informed awareness of the major aims of courses in Method have been examined, and some new approaches to course review and development have been suggested.
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    Live and learn: a plan for an educated citizenry
    Cumming, Ian ( 1946)
    The creators and improvers of Attic prose, the chief literary and most elegant language of ancient Greece, were the Sophists, who flourished in the latter half of the 5th century B.C. They were really a class of teachers or popular lecturers which met the demand for education among the people in those days. It is extremely doubtful if they had any common philosophical doctrine. Grote has disproved the traditional view of the Sophists that their intellectualism was characterised by scepticism and ethical egoism; this charge is still made against adult educators: Whatever criticism might be made of the Sophists - Socrates and Plato opposed them - they made a definite contribution to culture. Adult education had its genesis with them. They introduced the people to a wide range of general knowledge, they led their listeners into discussions, they investigated history, poetry, mathematics and science. The fact that they received fees for their courses and made a livelihood out of their teaching did not commend itself to the Greece of that time. It is strange how history repeats itself; even today there is a reluctance on the part of some individuals to pay teachers in order that they might make a livelihood: From the time of the Sophists, philosophers of all hues have agreed on the point that education is a lifelong process. It is no matter for congratulation that today we are far from applying that fact. When the franchise was extended greatly during the last century and politicians decided that, in their own interests, their masters should be educated, the education provided was confined to childhood. Some years ago H. G. Wells surprised a complacent world by declaring that we must choose between education and catastrophe. We know now which prevailed. But because we have suffered a world catastrophe, the primary and secondary schools are not to be castigated. The children could have done nothing to avert this conflict; the older generation, the adults, with parochial prejudices, should have served this world better. It should be the supreme aim of a democratic state to have an informed and intelligent citizenry; democracy is sustained by education. (From Introduction)
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    Aims and purposes of education: Australia, India: a comparative study
    Bhattacharyya, Gopal Chandra ( 1960)
    This is an essay in comparative education. It may be described as philosophical, but it is not the sort of philosophical essay which would be written by a professional philosopher; it is rather an attempt to show, by comparison of selected elements in the educational practice of Australia and India, some of the distinctive characteristics of the two nations. The aims and purposes of education to a large extent reflect the cultural, social and political philosophies of any country. For this reason it is necessary to give some attention to the forces working behind the educational scene: basic beliefs, the cultural heritage, religious traditions, racial, linguistic and economic factors, and the political background. In this way it is proposed that the aims and purposes of education should be studied in the discussion of the meaning of elementary and secondary. Tertiary, kindergarten, adult and technical education will not be discussed, and some other problems of education � examinations, teachers' training, discipline for example � will be omitted. We shall concentrate mainly on the contents of the primary and secondary curricula and extra-curricular activities, the ideas behind all these, the legal foundations in which these ideas have taken shape and the administrative and organizational problems which have arisen out of them. As the State school curriculum is largely followed by non-State schools also, we shall not deal with these schools separately but occasionally mention factors peculiar to them. Both Australia and India are federations of States and each state in each country has its own educational policy independent of others. But in India there is an All-India educational policy which is formulated through All-India organizations, such as the Central Advisory Board of Education and All-India Council for Secondary Education, and followed in principle by each state. In Australia, however, as there is no such co-ordinating body, the system of education in each State differs in detail. For our purpose we shall mainly depend on the two most progressive States, namely Victoria and New South Wales, although occasional reference will be made to the other States also. (From Introduction)
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    Secondary education in the Australian social order, 1788-1898: a study in the evolution of the theory and the curriculum of secondary education, and the methods of teaching, in the changing Australian social order
    French, E. L ( 1958)
    In spite of all the hard words said about educational histories there should be no need to justify the historical study of education. The school, like the Church or the Theatre, is a social institution: if we may write the history of one, we may write the history of the others. As to the peculiar value of the enterprise, there will be differences of opinion; the distinctive values of the study of history are again in question. Suffice to say that it is the writer's suspicion that the debate on the content and method of secondary education, which has been conducted with considerable vigour in Australia in the past twenty years or so, would have been more fruitful if, to the various capacities brought to it, there had been added the capacity to see the problems of secondary education in the perspective of their development. It is surely not unimportant that the architects of educational policy should he enabled to see their problem in depth.
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    An investigation of some educational implications of Holland's theory of vocational choice
    Elliott, Russell Henry ( 1976)
    The project set out to investigate the value of Holland's Vocational Preference Inventory (V.P.I.) as a measure of tertiary course/student compatibility and whether this compatibility had a bearing on subsequent course achievement. The sample consisted of 230 first year students at the Gordon Institute of Technology - a vocationally oriented College of Advanced Education. In addition to the course guidance investigation, a number of aspects of Holland's theory of vocational choice were examined. These included a test of Holland's proposed hexagonal pattern of relationships between the six personality types used in the interpretation of V.P.I. scores. Also, Holland's theory predicts, in relation to educational behaviour, that the choice of, stability in, satisfaction with and achievement into a field of study depend upon the degree of congruence between students and their educational environment. With a questionnaire measure of satisfaction and G.P.A. as an academic achievement measure, these predictions were tested. The results of a multiple discriminant analysis of scale scores on the V.P.I. indicated that meaningful distinctions between the course groups in the sample could be made on the- basis of scores on three significant discriminant functions. A series of planned contrasts carried out using a multivariance analysis also yielded significant results - again indicating that distinctions could be made between the course groups -using scores on the V.P.I. The values for the mean intercorrelations between scale scores for the sample showed that Holland's hexagonal ordering of the personality types was consistent with the results for this sample. As regards the congruence and satisfaction prediction, no significant differences were found on the satisfaction measures between those students who were congruent with their course and those who were not. Similar non-significant differences were found for the congruence/incongruence and academic achievement results. In both cases, however, satisfaction and achievement scores were higher for those who were congruent i.e. the differences were in the predicted direction. In -summary, the project found the V.P.I. to be able to discriminate between students in different courses and thus to offer possibilities for course guidance, and weak but not significant support for Holland's predictions relating to the effect of congruence of students and courses on educational behaviour.
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    Distinguishing the science content taken by grade 12 students
    Cross, R. J. ( 1977)
    The population of grade 12 students in Australian secondary schools has been steadily increasing over the past two decades. For most of this period the percentage of students at this level choosing science-type courses has been decreasing, and recently the actual number taking physics and chemistry has declined in some states. This study aimed to find a set of variables that would maximize the prediction of grade 12 student science content. Emphasis was directed toward identification of science talented students not opting for high science content in grade 12, and, equally as important, those of low science ability who select predominantly science courses at this level. It was proposed that the variables could be measures of any area likely to be related to the criterion. For example, factors associated with the home, the school, and personal measures were all included. The variable set was then searched for that combination returning optimal criterion prediction. Attention was focussed on six main units of analysis viz males, males of higher science ability, males of lower science ability, females, females of higher science ability, females of lower science ability. The data in each unit was subjected to both discriminant (stepwise and direct) analysis and a process similar to a stepwise regression procedure called the Automatic Interaction Detector (AID). AID employs a branching process using variance analysis to subdivide the sample into subgroups which maximize dependent variable value prediction. The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) conducted a series of tests on a stratified random sample of grade 12 students throughout Australia in 1970. The results, held at ACER, included measures of some 418 variables thirty four of which were selected for this investigation. Included in this group were the results of the four Commonwealth Secondary Scholarship Examination (CSSE) ability tests taken two years earlier. Analysis units were formed on the basis of sex and CSSE - Science score. The results indicate successful science content prediction is possible with the personal or internal variables of science interest, attitudes and abilities, consistently being of greatest importance. The participating external variables vary depending on the unit of analysis. The non-monotonic "State" and "Type of School" factors are predominant in AID analyses.
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    Sources of maladjustment in male sixth form students
    Conway, Ronald Victor ( 1974)
    Following Hohne (1951) and a pilot study by Conway (1960) an in-depth investigation was made of 96 sixth form boys from two large metropolitan private secondary schools - one a Catholic college, the other a grammar school. It was planned to test hypotheses that there would be significant differences in personal adjustment between both schools and curricular groupings (Maths-Science versus Humanities- Commercial). It was further planned to investigate the sources of various kinds of maladjustment by qualitative analysis, using individually administered projective tests and interviews. Apart from an appreciable difference in I.Q. between the two curricular groups, no really significant difference was found between schools and groups. There were, however, some differences in the kind of values espoused by contrasted schools and contrasted groups. Furthermore, qualitative analysis established, with a large measure of confidence, that the chief sources of stress experienced by students in their terminal secondary year were not curricular or scholastic. Maladjustments from domestic and extracurricular sources were found to decisively outrank those deriving (or believed to have derived) from the requirements imposed by the syllabus and school milieu. This finding was considered to have some value as a basis for criteria for further enquiry into the relationship between intrapsychic stresses and educational performance.