Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Research Publications

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    Children's mathematical thinking in different classroom cultures
    Wood, T ; Williams, G ; McNeal, B (NATL COUNCIL TEACHERS MATHEMATICS-NCTM, 2006-05-01)
    The relationship between normative patterns of social interaction and children's mathematical thinking was investigated in 5 classes (4 reform and 1 conventional) of 7- to 8-year-olds. In earlier studies, lessons from these classes had been analyzed for the nature of interaction broadly defined; the results indicated the existence of 4 types of classroom cultures (conventional textbook, conventional problem solving, strategy reporting, and inquiry/argument). In the current study, 42 lessons from this data resource were analyzed for children's mathematical thinking as verbalized in class discussions and for interaction patterns. These analyses were then combined to explore the relationship between interaction types and expressed mathematical thinking. The results suggest that increased complexity in children's expressed mathematical thinking was closely related to the types of interaction patterns that differentiated class discussions among the 4 classroom cultures.
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    Abstracting in the Context of Spontaneous Learning
    Williams, G (SPRINGER, 2007-09-01)
    There is evidence that spontaneous learning leads to relational understanding and high positive affect. To study spontaneous abstracting, a model was constructed by combining the RBC model of abstraction with Krutetskii's mental activities. Using video-stimulated interviews, the model was then used to analyse the behaviour of two Year 8 students who had demonstrated spontaneous abstracting. The analysis highlighted the crucial role of synthetic and evaluative analysis, two processes that seem unlikely to occur under guided construction.
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    Space to Think
    WILLIAMS, G (ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research Press), 2004)
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    Is peer review useful in assessing research proposals in Indigenous health? A case study.
    Street, J ; Baum, F ; Anderson, IPS (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-02-13)
    BACKGROUND: There has been considerable examination and critique of traditional (academic) peer review processes in quality assessment of grant applications. At the same time, the use of traditional research processes in Indigenous research has been questioned. Many grant funding organisations have changed the composition of their peer review panels to reflect these concerns but the question remains do these reforms go far enough? In this project we asked people working in areas associated with Aboriginal health research in a number of capacities, their views on the use of peer review in assessing Indigenous research proposals. METHODS: In semi-structured interviews we asked 18 individuals associated with an Australian Indigenous research funding organisation to reflect on their experience with peer review in quality assessment of grant applications. We also invited input from a steering group drawn from a variety of organisations involved in Aboriginal research throughout Australia and directly consulted with three Aboriginal-controlled health organisations. RESULTS: There was consensus amongst all participants that traditional academic peer review is inappropriate for quality assessment in Indigenous research. Many expressed the view that using a competitive grant review system in Aboriginal health was counterintuitive, since good research transfer is based on effective collaboration. The consensus within the group favoured a system which built research in a collaborative manner incorporating a variety of different stakeholders in the process. In this system, one-off peer review was still seen as valuable in the form of a "critical friend" who provided advice as to how to improve the research proposal. CONCLUSION: Peer review in the traditional mould should be recognised as inappropriate in Aboriginal research. Building research projects relevant to policy and practice in Indigenous health may require a shift to a new way of selecting, funding and conducting research.
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    Conscientiousness, Career Success, and Longevity: A Lifespan Analysis
    Kern, ML ; Friedman, HS ; Martin, LR ; Reynolds, CA ; Luong, G (OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2009-04-01)
    BACKGROUND: Markers of executive functioning, such as prudent planning for the future and impulse control, are related to conscientiousness and may be central to both occupational success and health outcomes. PURPOSE: The aim of the study was to examine relations among conscientiousness, career success, and mortality risk across a 65-year period. METHODS: Using data derived from 693 male participants in the Terman Life Cycle Study, we examined associations among childhood personality, midlife objective career success, and lifelong mortality risk through 2006. RESULTS: Conscientiousness and career success each predicted lower mortality risk (N = 693, relative hazard (rh) = 0.82 [95% confidence interval = 0.74, 0.91] and rh = 0.80 [0.71, 0.91], respectively), with both shared and unique variance. Importantly, childhood personality moderated the success-longevity link; conscientiousness was most relevant for least successful individuals. CONCLUSION: Conscientiousness and career success predicted longevity, but not in a straightforward manner. Findings highlight the importance of lifespan processes.
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    Number-Based Visual Generalisation in the Honeybee
    Gross, HJ ; Pahl, M ; Si, A ; Zhu, H ; Tautz, J ; Zhang, S ; Tanimoto, H (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2009-01-28)
    Although the numerical abilities of many vertebrate species have been investigated in the scientific literature, there are few convincing accounts of invertebrate numerical competence. Honeybees, Apis mellifera, by virtue of their other impressive cognitive feats, are a prime candidate for investigations of this nature. We therefore used the well-established delayed match-to-sample paradigm, to test the limits of honeybees' ability to match two visual patterns solely on the basis of the shared number of elements in the two patterns. Using a y-maze, we found that bees can not only differentiate between patterns containing two and three elements, but can also use this prior knowledge to differentiate three from four, without any additional training. However, bees trained on the two versus three task could not distinguish between higher numbers, such as four versus five, four versus six, or five versus six. Control experiments confirmed that the bees were not using cues such as the colour of the exact configuration of the visual elements, the combined area or edge length of the elements, or illusory contours formed by the elements. To our knowledge, this is the first report of number-based visual generalisation by an invertebrate.
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    East Learns from West: Asiatic Honeybees Can Understand Dance Language of European Honeybees
    Su, S ; Cai, F ; Si, A ; Zhang, S ; Tautz, J ; Chen, S ; Giurfa, M (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2008-06-04)
    The honeybee waggle dance, through which foragers advertise the existence and location of a food source to their hive mates, is acknowledged as the only known form of symbolic communication in an invertebrate. However, the suggestion, that different species of honeybee might possess distinct 'dialects' of the waggle dance, remains controversial. Furthermore, it remains unclear whether different species of honeybee can learn from and communicate with each other. This study reports experiments using a mixed-species colony that is composed of the Asiatic bee Apis cerana cerana (Acc), and the European bee Apis mellifera ligustica (Aml). Using video recordings made at an observation hive, we first confirm that Acc and Aml have significantly different dance dialects, even when made to forage in identical environments. When reared in the same colony, these two species are able to communicate with each other: Acc foragers could decode the dances of Aml to successfully locate an indicated food source. We believe that this is the first report of successful symbolic communication between two honeybee species; our study hints at the possibility of social learning between the two honeybee species, and at the existence of a learning component in the honeybee dance language.
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    Improving the outcome of infants born at < 30 weeks' gestation - a randomized controlled trial of preventative care at home
    Spittle, AJ ; Ferretti, C ; Anderson, PJ ; Orton, J ; Eeles, A ; Bates, L ; Boyd, RN ; Inder, TE ; Doyle, LW (BMC, 2009-12-03)
    BACKGROUND: Early developmental interventions to prevent the high rate of neurodevelopmental problems in very preterm children, including cognitive, motor and behavioral impairments, are urgently needed. These interventions should be multi-faceted and include modules for caregivers given their high rates of mental health problems. METHODS/DESIGN: We have designed a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a preventative care program delivered at home over the first 12 months of life for infants born very preterm (<30 weeks of gestational age) and their families, compared with standard medical follow-up. The aim of the program, delivered over nine sessions by a team comprising a physiotherapist and psychologist, is to improve infant development (cognitive, motor and language), behavioral regulation, caregiver-child interactions and caregiver mental health at 24 months' corrected age. The infants will be stratified by severity of brain white matter injury (assessed by magnetic resonance imaging) at term equivalent age, and then randomized. At 12 months' corrected age interim outcome measures will include motor development assessed using the Alberta Infant Motor Scale and the Neurological Sensory Motor Developmental Assessment. Caregivers will also complete a questionnaire at this time to obtain information on behavior, parenting, caregiver mental health, and social support. The primary outcomes are at 24 months' corrected age and include cognitive, motor and language development assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (Bayley-III). Secondary outcomes at 24 months include caregiver-child interaction measured using an observational task, and infant behavior, parenting, caregiver mental health and social support measured via standardized parental questionnaires. DISCUSSION: This paper presents the background, study design and protocol for a randomized controlled trial in very preterm infants utilizing a preventative care program in the first year after discharge home designed to improve cognitive, motor and behavioral outcomes of very preterm children and caregiver mental health at two-years' corrected age. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12605000492651.
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    Setting and meeting priorities in Indigenous health research in Australia and its application in the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal health.
    Monk, JM ; Rowley, KG ; Anderson, IP (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-11-20)
    Priority setting is about making decisions. Key issues faced during priority setting processes include identifying who makes these decisions, who sets the criteria, and who benefits. The paper reviews the literature and history around priority setting in research, particularly in Aboriginal health research. We explore these issues through a case study of the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (CRCAH)'s experience in setting and meeting priorities.Historically, researchers have made decisions about what research gets done. Pressures of growing competition for research funds and an increased public interest in research have led to demands that appropriate consultation with stakeholders is conducted and that research is of benefit to the wider society. Within Australian Aboriginal communities, these demands extend to Aboriginal control of research to ensure that Aboriginal priorities are met.In response to these demands, research priorities are usually agreed in consultation with stakeholders at an institutional level and researchers are asked to develop relevant proposals at a project level. The CRCAH's experience in funding rounds was that scientific merit was given more weight than stakeholders' priorities and did not necessarily result in research that met these priorities. After reviewing these processes in 2004, the CRCAH identified a new facilitated development approach. In this revised approach, the setting of institutional priorities is integrated with the development of projects in a way that ensures the research reflects stakeholder priorities.This process puts emphasis on identifying projects that reflect priorities prior to developing the quality of the research, rather than assessing the relevance to priorities and quality concurrently. Part of the CRCAH approach is the employment of Program Managers who ensure that stakeholder priorities are met in the development of research projects. This has enabled researchers and stakeholders to come together to collaboratively develop priority-driven research. Involvement by both groups in project development has been found to be essential in making decisions that will lead to robust and useful research.
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    A cost-based equity weight for use in the economic evaluation of primary health care interventions: case study of the Australian Indigenous population
    Ong, KS ; Kelaher, M ; Anderson, I ; Carter, R (BMC, 2009-10-07)
    BACKGROUND: Efficiency and equity are both important policy objectives in resource allocation. The discipline of health economics has traditionally focused on maximising efficiency, however addressing inequities in health also requires consideration. Methods to incorporate equity within economic evaluation techniques range from qualitative judgements to quantitative outcomes-based equity weights. Yet, due to definitional uncertainties and other inherent limitations, no method has been universally adopted to date. This paper proposes an alternative cost-based equity weight for use in the economic evaluation of interventions delivered from primary health care services. METHODS: Equity is defined in terms of 'access' to health services, with the vertical equity objective to achieve 'equitable access for unequal need'. Using the Australian Indigenous population as an illustrative case study, the magnitude of the equity weight is constructed using the ratio of the costs of providing specific interventions via Indigenous primary health care services compared with the costs of the same interventions delivered via mainstream services. Applying this weight to the costs of subsequent interventions deflates the costs of provision via Indigenous health services, and thus makes comparisons with mainstream more equitable when applied during economic evaluation. RESULTS: Based on achieving 'equitable access', existing measures of health inequity are suitable for establishing 'need', however the magnitude of health inequity is not necessarily proportional to the magnitude of resources required to redress it. Rather, equitable access may be better measured using appropriate methods of health service delivery for the target group. 'Equity of access' also suggests a focus on the processes of providing equitable health care rather than on outcomes, and therefore supports application of equity weights to the cost side rather than the outcomes side of the economic equation. CONCLUSION: Cost-based weights have the potential to provide a pragmatic method of equity weight construction which is both understandable to policy makers and sensitive to the needs of target groups. It could improve the evidence base for resource allocation decisions, and be generalised to other disadvantaged groups who share similar concepts of equity. Development of this decision-making tool represents a potentially important avenue for further health economics research.