Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses
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ItemAn analysis of evaluative reasoning in education program evaluations conducted in Australia between 2014 – 2019Meldrum, 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.
ItemJust reporting : does the school have a justifiable reporting process?Morrison, Caroline Mary ( 2006)This thesis titled `Just Reporting' aimed to explore the question: Does the school have a justifiable reporting process that meets the needs of key stakeholders (parents, students and teachers)? Through a critical review of the research literature relevant to reporting, various ethical issues were noted that assisted in the construction of the questions guiding this study. These ethical issues provided the lens through which I explored the reporting practices at the research school. The title Just Reporting emphasises the justice issues surrounding reporting as a communicative action where the integrity of each individual is maintained and relationships strengthened. The research took the form of a case study involving the participation of thirty-three parents, eleven teachers and twenty-one students from the one school setting in a questionnaire that had both quantitative and qualitative questions that gathered their affective and cognitive responses to the school's written report. I also held one focus group interview with parents to clarify information from the questionnaire. An interactive inquiry with mixed methods approach was chosen as the best way to answer the research questions. The aim was to develop a theory about reporting rather than prove an existing theory. This study examines what reporting is, the audience and purpose of reporting, and the imperatives of justifiable reporting. It gathered the opinions and beliefs about reporting at the research school from key stakeholder groups and sought to discover whether the written report met their needs and fulfilled the requirements of justifiable reporting. Final analysis of the data provided understandings about the nature of reporting at the research school and revealed a number of issues that prevented the process from being fully justifiable.
ItemAn evaluation of the National Studies ProgramParker, Judith M ( 1999)This study focuses on the National Studies Program, which is one of the activities Emergency Management Australia (EMA) and, more specifically, the Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI) has supported and undertaken. Since its inception the National Studies Program has consisted of workshops, seminars and study periods which explored multi-disciplinary aspects of emergency management. All these activities were designed to enhance prevention, preparedness, response or recovery capabilities or to further community understanding. The National Studies Program has evolved in an unsystematic manner. An evaluative review of how it has evolved, combined with the collection of information from involved individuals has provided a means of making the program more relevant, better presented with improved outputs and outcomes. In this study, data were collected and analysed from archival records and interviews. A needs assessment was undertaken to determine the gap between what is currently the case and what should be, in order to determine a set of recommendations for improving an existing program. This evaluation was undertaken by an internal evaluator so the study should be seen as a contribution to the insider for insider category of evaluation practice. It is therefore expected that because of the evaluator having a stake in the program the recommendations will be effective and be utilized.
ItemParticipatory evaluation: recording one school's experience in using evaluation as a process to support developmentHarvey, Graeme L. ( 1998)A participatory evaluation was conducted over a period of two terms to review an Early Intervention Program in an independent school. Using the framework developed by Cousins and Leithwood (1993) an evaluation was initiated with the author as the internal evaluator. Four 'primary users' of the program were recruited as members of the Evaluation Team and collaborated with the evaluator in the evaluation design and implementation. The negotiated focus for the evaluation was the adequacy of the program design and to support this outcome the Evaluability Assessment model (Smith, 1989b) was incorporated into the evaluation design. The evaluation was conducted over a 16 week period and after the conclusion of the project the four Evaluation Team members were interviewed using a semi-structured interview format. The data indicated that the evaluation was seen as effective in initiating change and as a process of professional and personal learning for those involved. From this information, some of the factors that were seen as assisting the effectiveness of the evaluation process and in supporting the utilisation of the information generated were identified. These were used to develop a broad framework of guidelines for the operation of participatory evaluation context within the school context.
ItemVision and reality: what are the experiences and perceptions of overseas students enrolled in a year 13 Foundation Studies course in business offered in a city university?Coutroutsos-Harvey, Calliope ( 2001)Internationalization has become one of the 'buzzwords' in Australian education. For most Australian educational institutions, internationalization meant an unprecedented influx of overseas students enrolling in their courses. This thesis will consider the mismatch of expectations between students from the Asia-Pacific region in a tertiary education institution in Australia. What is the mismatch of expectations? What is its extent? How does it come to exist? How does it manifest itself? These questions have been explored in focus group discussions with students from the Asia-Pacific region currently attending a Year 13 Foundation Studies course in a city university. The research found a mismatch between student and staff expectations due to miscommunication and cultural values.