Faculty of Education - Theses

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    Egan's stage theory : an exploratory study of its use in the analysis of science textbooks
    Valmadre, Christopher Charles ( 1985)
    Kieran Egan (1979) has challenged educationists to consider the need for a Theory of Development which is specifically Educational. Such a need is discussed and examined in the context of science teaching. Egan's Theory was applied to the selection of science text material for a group of eleven and twelve year old students. The students' responses to the materials were compared with Egan's descriptions of certain developmental stages, particularly of his Romantic Stage. The author concluded that Egan's theoretical proposition assisted in interpeting certain student behaviour and preferences. Possible classroom uses of Egan's theory are discussed, implications for text usage and design are outlined, and some areas of research are suggested.
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    The Australian Science Education Project: a case study in curriculum implementation
    Gill, William ( 1991)
    The Australian Science Education Project (ASEP) was developed between 1969-74 as Australia's first national curriculum project. ASEP was designed to introduce major changes for years 7-10 science in materials, content and assigned roles for teachers and students. While initial sales of the ASEP materials were excellent in Victoria the extent of implementation was low. This study examines reasons for this unsuccessful implementation from a user (i.e. teacher and schools) perspective. Determinants or causes of the extent of implementation relating to the nature of the ASEP materials, the strategies for implementation and the nature of teaching and schools are examined. The fundamental cause of the low level of implementation in Victoria is related to the development of the ASEP materials from a 'technological' perspective with limited input by classroom teachers. The materials developed in this way could only be successful if the implementation strategies included extensive in-service and curriculum support for science teachers and this did not happen in Victoria. Based on Havelock's 'Problem Solver' perspective of curriculum change a model for effective implementation is proposed which incorporates a 'user' perspective and the notion of mutual adaptation between the innovation and the user system.
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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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    Learning to write scientific discourse
    Barker, Gayle ( 2000)
    This thesis describes the perceptions of a group of first year science students about writing tasks during first semester of their tertiary studies. Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data from students. An interview was also conducted with one key science lecturer. The questionnaire and interview responses were analysed using the framework of four features of scientific academic writing - Generic Structure, Content, Surface Level Features and Access. The students' questionnaire and interview responses provided insights about their perceptions of the differences between writing at school and at university and also about the difficulties they experienced with learning to write scientific discourse. The students came to realise during the semester that they were not adequately prepared to cope with writing across the range of scientific genres or with the more sophisticated level of contextual knowledge required in their university studies. The interview with the science lecturer revealed a gap between the students' and the lecturer's perceptions that may be a factor in the problematic nature of learning to write scientific discourse at university. While the students did not appear to consider the language of science relevant to their contextual knowledge, the lecturer indicated that he perceived the language of science to be intrinsically bound with a command of the content. The students also indicated that the lecturer's expectations about discourse requirements were not sufficiently explicit. The lecturer, on the other hand, indicated that explicit instructions about discourse requirements were provided for students. This study signals the need for closer collaboration between Communication Skills lecturers and science subject lecturers in bringing the perceptions of the students and the lecturers closer together. The Communication Skills lecturer can assist students to learn the required scientific discourse by working alongside science subject lecturers to collaboratively provide in-context, explicit instruction, scaffolding and modelling of specific written tasks.