Faculty of Education - Theses

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    Teacher's management of learning in small groups in science classes
    Sadler, J.m ( 1993)
    Established curriculum documents in Victoria recommend group work as an effective teaching strategy but the implementation and management of such groups is poorly understood by many teachers. This study investigated two management strategies which differed in the degree of role attribution amongst group members and the effect of the strategies on communication, behaviour patterns and achievement on a problem solving investigation. Students in three parallel year eight science classes from one school were observed over an eight week period. A low level and a high level management strategy were randomly allocated to each of two classes and used to manage group work. After four weeks the management strategies were exchanged. The third class, which was used as the control, was managed in a way which was more typical of a traditional science class. Randomly selected groups of students from each class carried out a practical problem solving investigation as a pretest, then again at the completion of the first four weeks (phase 1) and again after the completion of the second four weeks (phase 2). Student conversations within groups were recorded and coded to identify levels of communication types. Students' written reports for each test were assessed and scores analysed. Teachers completed an observation schedule to identify styles of leadership and types of group behaviour within each class. It was found that the use of the low level management strategy, in particular, did increase the relative frequency of communication at higher cognitive levels, those of conceptualisations, as compared with the control treatment. Problem solving skills as measured by achievement on the written practical investigation improved over time and there was a significant effect in the area of "making measurements" when the management strategies were used as compared to the control treatment.
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    What is a quality rubric? : curriculum design, state frameworks and local assessment of secondary science
    Stewart, Jen ( 2009)
    In explicating Science the science teacher is likely to say, 'I have reached Chapter 9!' Bureaucracy has its own logic and State curriculum writers have pushed for results that looked rational: results that could codify, sort and explain to their masters. The schools and universities have responded. The rubric has recently entered the teacher lexicon as a quasi professional tool for instructional planning and student assessment in the public domain as a response to central accountability requirements in relation to mandated curricula and standards of student and teacher performance. The rubric is characteristically a grid which defines any piece of instruction, a list of anticipated educational attainments, stated as criteria, against levels or standards of attainment, stated as descriptors. The rubric has become a public statement, a quasi contract written by groups of teachers in a school that identifies what can be expected in terms of teaching behaviours and student learning, in the name of a school or the state. But how would the quality of a rubric be discussed or assessed in relation to science education? The study explores the use of rubrics to support situated cognition and social constructivist science teaching. This thesis does not investigate the question of educational 'quality' per se. It does not set out to prescribe or stipulate ideals. Nor does it recommend how teachers ought to use rubrics to measure or assess such ideals. Rather it is an ethnogenic study of the judgements made about the qualities of the rubrics designed and used by science teachers and a particular group of students in an inner urban secondary school. The students in this study are enrolled in the Select Entry Accelerated Learning program at Hill View Secondary College which seeks to engage them in higher levels of educational involvement and attainment.