Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    An analysis of evaluative reasoning in education program evaluations conducted in Australia between 2014 – 2019
    Meldrum, Kathryn Janet ( 2022)
    The Australian government spends millions of dollars every year on grants that support new and innovative programs in the education sector. For example, in the 2020- 2021 Australian budget, financial support for interventions in the primary and secondary school sectors equalled more than $72.9 million dollars. Usually, and in order to account for spending the money, granting bodies ask for an evaluation of the intervention. One of the key activities of evaluation is to determine the value, merit or worth of a program. This is achieved by reaching an evaluative conclusion/judgement about the educational intervention that is credible, valid, and defensible to stakeholders. The defensibility of an evaluative conclusion/judgement relies partly on legitimate and justified arguments. In evaluation, legitimate arguments are made using the logic of evaluation. Justified arguments are made using evaluative reasoning. However, the reasoning process underpinning the logic is doubly important because readers need to be convinced of the credibility, validity, and defensibility of the evaluative conclusion/judgement. This study investigated the presence of a legitimate and justified evaluative conclusion/judgement in publicly available education evaluations conducted in Australia between 2014-2019. Using the systematic quantitative analysis method and new integrated logic of evaluation and evaluative reasoning conceptual framework, this study found that only four of the 26 evaluations analysed provided a legitimate and justified evaluative conclusion/ judgement about program value. The remaining 22 ‘evaluations’ were categorised as research because while they provided descriptive facts about the intervention, they did not ascribe value to it. The findings highlight the need for more credible, valid, and defensible evaluations of educational programs, achieved in part by using evaluative reasoning, as they provide an evidence-base for decision-making and for ensuring that quality education is available to all members of society.
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    Vocational education and apprenticeship: a study of vocational education in the 20th century in England, Australia and the United States with special reference to the role of apprenticeship training and with recommendations for the modification of that training
    Wakeham, R. P. ( [1978])
    My thesis outlines in brief the sorts of traditions and practices on which the institution of apprenticeship has been built, both as a form of training and as a social device to provide both moral guardianship and continuing education for the trainee. Although there is considerable evidence that the system has failed on both these counts since the decay of the old system three hundred years ago, apprenticeship continues to survive as the usual method for contracting training in exchange for service in England and Australia. It even receives official sanction and subsidization. Nevertheless, even on the mundane level of job practice, apprenticeship may be an unsatisfactory arrangement for both trainees and instructors, and the fact that the system has long been exposed to the hostile influences of labour and management still further hobbles its effectiveness as a form of training and of work induction. With the development of systematized and institutionalized technical instruction in the twentieth century, especially in the vocation-conscious United States, youth has even more opportunities to achieve vocational potential outside the cramping service status of apprenticeship. There may even be some doubt whether there should any longer be a place for apprenticeship in modern industrial societies where many sorts of skill must be newly developed and where a spirit of versatility will better ensure the tradesman continuing employment in the last quarter of this century.