Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    The academic achievements of language centre students at a secondary college
    Warrick, Geoff ( 2001)
    What are the academic achievements of adolescent new-arrival English as a Second Language (ESL) students at secondary schools in Victoria, Australia? Research on Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) students in Australia has tended to neglect new arrival ESL students. To examine the academic achievements of this important subgroup of NESB students, the current study will highlight the academic achievements of a cohort of Victorian Language Centre students at a Secondary College over six years with interruption to schooling in their first language (L1) as the key variable linked to academic achievement in their second language (L2). Victorian Language Centres provide new-arrival ESL students with the English skills they need to start their secondary educations in L2. The current study examined the academic achievement of two groups of Language Centre students, those who completed their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and those who left the Secondary College prior to completing VCE. Their academic results were summarised into spreadsheets for quantitative analysis. Subsequent to the quantitative analysis interviews were conducted with four ESL students from the Language Centre currently completing their VCE studies to provide further insight into the factors that enabled them to do their VCE. Results indicate that the academic achievements of this cohort of ESL Language Centre students are poor and that interruption to education in Ll had a major impact on the students' ability to achieve academically at the Secondary College. The study suggests that L1 education is the key variable influencing the student's ability to acquire the academic language skills necessary to meet the academic demands of secondary education, particularly the VCE. Other factors such as support for learning and strong motivation were found to help students overcome difficulties encountered in their secondary education. However, students who were unable to overcome these difficulties left the College prior to completing VCE. It was concluded that the majority of Language Centre students faced uncertain economic futures once they left the Secondary College. The results of the study suggest that Language Centre students need more support and assistance to enable them to complete VCE or to access educational alternatives to the VCE. This study also suggests that more research into the effect of L1 education on L2 education be conducted as this was found to be the key variable in the students' ability to acquire the academic language skills necessary to meet the academic demands of VCE.
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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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    Australian studies and the Geelong College
    Peel, Geoffrey W ( 1988)
    The Geelong College pioneered the teaching of Australian Studies as part of the secondary school curriculum. The notion of teaching about Australia through an inter-disciplinary course was seen as revolutionary in its early days of the mid-1970s. Since that time, however, the teaching of Australian Studies has become increasingly widespread in schools, and also in some tertiary institutions. Over the same period, the Australian Studies course at The Geelong College has undergone review and change according to staff interests, student reaction and the contemporary situation. In the early 1980s, the face of Victorian Education was to change through the effects of the "Blackburn Report", an enquiry into post-compulsory schooling, of which a major recommendation was that all students should undertake a study of Australian society at Levels 11 and 12. The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Board has used this recommendation as the basis for introducing a compulsory two-unit course titled "Work and Australian Society" as part of the new Victorian Certificate of Education, which will be fully operational by 1991. The Geelong College, like all other secondary schools in the state, is having to prepare for the introduction of Australian Studies in this form. Although this school has had the advantage of experience with an established Australian Studies course, the present course does not fully satisfy the requirements of the VCAB guidelines; therefore some degree of modification and rewriting is necessary. This thesis will attempt to design, implement and evaluate some units of work for Year 11 Australian Studies students at The Geelong College, units which satisfy both the VCAB requirements and the needs of the student clientele of this particular school. In order to undertake such a project, this thesis initially examines the development in the study of Australian society and culture. It then attempts to identify a methodology which could be used as a model for the planning of curriculum modfications for this course. The nature of the particular institution in question will be examined as a preparatory step to the development of a curriculum. The thesis concludes with a review of the process undertaken and discusses its applicability as a general methodology.
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    Evaluating a peer mediation program : the perspectives of key stakeholders
    Ryan, Susan ( 2006)
    Peer mediation has developed as a popular means of responding to and managing conflict in schools. Advocates of peer mediation assert that it is an effective method of encouraging students to resolve conflict constructively and can encourage responsible citizenship. This study emerged as a result of the researcher's involvement in a peer mediation program in a large regional girls' secondary college. The study explored the perspectives of key stakeholders (students, teachers and parents) on the impact of the peer mediation program and sought to establish what benefits, if any, were derived from the existence of the program. Specifically, the research focused on whether the program was supported, accepted and used by the school community and whether the perceptions of the program were congruent amongst different stakeholder groups. The study also investigated what outcomes were experienced by the trained mediators themselves. Factors which might encourage or limit students' use of the program were also explored. Data was collected prior to the training of a specific cohort of mediators and in the following year from key groups: the trained students, other students within the school setting, staff and parents. The findings indicate that the presence of a peer mediation program was seen to have a considerable positive effect on school climate by teachers and parents and that, in many cases, it produced positive outcomes for students. The most meaningful outcomes of the specific study, however, appeared to be the benefits for the trained mediators themselves, in terms of the development and enhancement of self confidence and life skills. The implications of the findings for the peer mediation program in the case study school and for other schools implementing peer mediation programs are discussed in this report.
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    Standing strong or standing weak? Equal opportunity, violence against women and the school curriculum : a case study
    Ollis, Debbie ( 1994)
    Despite violence against women becoming a very public issue in recent years, remarkably little material on this subject has so far found its way into the school curriculum. This thesis examines a set of curriculum materials called Standing Strong, which specifically aims to help students make sense of violent and sexually abusive relationships. The thesis outlines and evaluates the materials in light of their ability to achieve one of the major objectives of recent equal opportunity policy, namely, to help achieve "equality between the sexes, and...improv(e) the conditions of life for girls and women...taking account of their cultural, language, and socio-economic diversity...". (Commonwealth Schools Commission, 1987: Recommendation 2, p. 25). The evaluation takes two main forms, one theoretical, the other empirical. The theoretical evaluation draws upon recent post structuralist and constructionist feminist writings. The empirical evaluation is undertaken by drawing upon the research findings derived from in-depth interviews with 24 young women who had used the Standing Strong materials during their secondary school education. The thesis argues that Standing Strong is flawed theoretically, and that this is likely to hamper its usefulness in practice. The research data confirm this pessimistic conclusion. The thesis concludes by reflecting on whether a focus on education might be more of a hindrance than a help to the development of a meaningful and effective solutions to violence against women.
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    A review of recent developments in the conception and administration of year 12 geography courses in Australia
    Wilson, Ian (1925-) ( 1981)
    Although geography has been taught in Australian secondary schools for most of this century, it is only in the past thirty years that all states have provided a course of study for the teaching of geography to Year 12 students. Geography has been a significant component of the school curriculum for many students at this level during this time. The development of secondary education systems in the post-World War II years has been influenced by many factors which have directly or indirectly affected Year 12 geography courses. These factors, varying from state to state, have included reports of commissions, for example, the Wyndham Report, development of curriculum theory, the removal of external examinations at various levels, and others. Specific factors which have influenced Year 12 geography courses have been changes in the nature of geographic thought, the writings of Bruner and Australian geographers Biddle, McCaskill, Shortle, Stringer, Blachford, and the increasing involvement of teachers in curriculum development. Each state has produced a Year 12 geography course unique to that state in many ways. A study of the current (1979) courses illustrates not only their similarities and differences, but also examines factors which have influenced their development. Various statutory bodies responsible for the development of the course in each state provided a degree of central control, and the external examinations continue to play a significant role despite the general movement toward school-based curriculum development and internal assessment at other levels of secondary schooling. The future geography at Year 12 level depends upon the ability of course developers, not only to meet the challenge of change, but also to provide a course of study seen by students to be not only interesting but also as relevant and meaningful preparation for the postsecondary world they are about to enter.
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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.