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Issues in Educational Research

Abstracts for Volume 15 Number 1, 2005

The distribution of printed copies of Volume 15 Number 1 (2005) commences on 2 June 2005. The web version release date will be 2 September 2005. Prior to web release date, the Abstracts are available online in this page.

Lauren Breen and Margaret Maassen
Edith Cowan University
Reducing the incidence of plagiarism in an undergraduate course: The role of education

Plagiarism by students is an increasing problem at higher education institutions. However, the development of academic misconduct policies has done little to reduce the incidence of plagiarism as many incidents result from ignorance and poor skill development rather than intentional misconduct. Our purpose in embarking on this research project was twofold: first, to investigate student perceptions of plagiarism and its avoidance, and second, to develop learning materials that would educate students to be better able to avoid plagiarism in their work. The study consisted of two phases. Phase one consisted of four focus groups with undergraduate psychology students in order to determine their understanding of plagiarism, difficulties with avoiding plagiarism, and the process of learning to write without plagiarising. Phase two concerned the development and evaluation of learning materials, which consisted of three tutorials and a 'tip sheet'. The learning materials are flexible to different disciplines and learning modes, require minimal changes to units and assessment, and need little ongoing staff commitment. Thus, the proposed learning materials have a number of advantages over alternate methods of plagiarism reduction.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(1), 1-16. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/breen.html

Leng Hui
Edith Cowan University
Chinese cultural schema of Education: Implications for communication between Chinese students and Australian educators

Education in China, in its various forms and levels, is widely conceptualised as integrating the cultivation of 'human souls' with the provision of students with knowledge. The English word 'education' is jiao yu in Chinese, which means 'teaching [and] cultivating'. The analogy shi nian shu mu, bai nian shu ren (it takes ten years to grow trees, but a hundred years to cultivate a person) may illustrate the cultivating responsibilities laid on Chinese schools or other institutions engaged in educating people. A Chinese metaphor equating teachers with ren lei ling hun gong cheng shi (the engineers of 'human souls') also reveals the cultural knowledge that teachers play a crucial role in cultivating the soul of Chinese people. The cultural knowledge embodied in the Chinese cultural schema of Education exerts profound influence on teachers, students (regardless of their ages) and their parents.

Making use of common idioms, proverbs and popular quotes from Chinese classics on education, this paper provides an introduction to the Chinese Education schema of jiao shu yu ren (teaching books and cultivating people) and explores the influence of the schema on Chinese education in terms of issues such as moral education, teacher roles and status, student beliefs about books and learning and the significance of examinations in Chinese education. Discussion of the influence of the Chinese Education schema on intercultural communication between mainland Chinese students and their Australian educators is also provided. It is concluded that, despite some experience of living in Australia, mainland Chinese students overseas are likely to draw on their embedded cultural schema of Education when studying in the context of Australian education systems. An understanding of the Chinese Education schema may help Australian educators to bridge the educational gaps that many overseas Chinese students encounter, and it may contribute to reducing the chances of intercultural miscommunication between Chinese students and Australian educationists.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(1), 17-36. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/hui.pdf

Deepa Marat
Unitec, New Zealand
Assessing mathematics self-efficacy of diverse students from secondary schools in Auckland: Implications for academic achievement

The concept of self-efficacy is based on the triadic reciprocality model symbolising a relationship between: (a) personal factors i.e. cognition, emotion, and biological events (b) behaviour, and (c) environmental factors (Maddux, 1995). Cognition, emotion and behaviour are the domains of personality which form the basis of research in self-efficacy. Research has been extensive on the relationship between self-efficacy and performance attainment in academic settings. Self-report scales are most commonly used in the assessment of self-efficacy. The guidelines to construct scales to assess self-efficacy have been specified by Bandura (2001). These guidelines highlight the importance of developing self-report measures which are task specific, and take into consideration all three domains of self-efficacy and three levels within each domain. Suggestions to develop measures which are reliable and have content validity have been provided. The major aims of the present research were to assess diverse students' self-efficacy in mathematics, and to assess its relationship with achievement. Self efficacy is viewed as a multidimensional construct which shares a reciprocal relationship with various determinants. The major determinants considered in this study include: (a) motivation strategies, (b) cognitive and metacognitive strategies, (c) resource management, (d) self-regulated learning, (e) meeting others' expectations, and (f) self-assertiveness. This article reports the findings and discusses the implications for student achievement in a multicultural learning context.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(1), 37-68. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/marat.html

Cathleen March
D'Youville College, USA
Academic redshirting: Does withholding a child from school entrance for one year increase academic success

This study examined scores on second, third and fourth grade reading and mathematics tests to determine the effects of beginning school age on later school success. The analysis involved 352 participants in one rural school district in Western New York. Participants were divided into three groups: (a) age appropriate for entrance to school, (b) young for entrance to school and (c) delayed from entrance to school. Differences among the age groups and between the genders were investigated. No statistically significant differences were noted among the three age groups or between the genders on either the reading or mathematics achievement measures.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(1), 69-85. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/march.html

Orlando J. Olivares
Bridgewater State College and Aptima Inc., USA
Collaborative critical thinking: Conceptualizing and defining a new construct from known constructs

In recent years, organisations and institutions of higher learning have adopted group/team structures to facilitate learning and goal completion. A number of methods have been used to better understand and facilitate group learning. In this paper, I explore one such method: collaborative critical thinking, heretofore, a relatively unknown construct. Considering the nascent nature of this construct, the primary goal of this research is to conceptualize and define collaborative critical thinking using the known constructs cooperative and collaborative learning, and critical thinking. As part of this process, cooperative and collaborative learning will be differentiated, and directions for future research proposed.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(1), 86-100. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/olivares.html

Carole Steketee
The University of Notre Dame Australia
Integrating ICT as an integral teaching and learning tool into pre-service teacher training courses

Even though a wide cross-section of society today has accepted Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as an entrenched characteristic of its culture, education has been slow to adopt it as an integral tool within the classroom (Cuban, 2001; Elliott, 2004). Many reasons for this lethargy have been purported in the literature, ranging from inadequate professional development opportunities for teachers, to negative teacher attitudes towards technology. Similarly, an assortment of solutions to these dilemmas has been proposed. One in particular has been the push to integrate ICT into teacher education programs. Exposure to ICT during their training is expected to increase graduating teachers' willingness to integrate it into their own classroom curricula. While studies into this phenomenon have reported some degree of success, findings have been largely inconclusive (Brush, Igoe, Brinkerhoff, Glazewski, Ku & Smith, 2001; Albion, 2003). Nevertheless, these collective findings are useful in informing similar contexts. For example, the College of Education at The University of Notre Dame, Australia (UNDA) has reviewed these findings in an effort to better understand, and potentially change, ICT implementation across its own teacher training programs.

The UNDA review and its conclusions are presented in this paper, together with the definition and discussion of approaches to ICT integration adopted by various teacher training institutions. Furthermore, the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches are explored and subsequently used as a springboard for the proposal of an implementation framework that has the potential to facilitate the authentic and sustained application of ICT within K-12 classrooms.

Issues in Educational Research, 15(1), 101-113. http://www.iier.org.au/iier15/steketee.html

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