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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    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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    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.