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1994 Annual Research Forum

Queensland Institute for Educational Research

Presentation Abstracts


Title:Knowledge and competence for beginning teaching
Researchers:Mr Neville Fry, Ms Debra Cunningham, Mrs Jill Manitzky
Institution:Board of Teacher Registration, Toowong

Towards the end of 1991 the Board of Teacher Registration embarked on a policy development initiative to explore the issue of the knowledge needed by new teachers to enable them to function as competent beginning teachers. The strategy used was to establish and provide non-financial support for a number of networks of researchers across the State, each approaching the overall topic from a different angle. This display provides an overview of the strategy and the outcomes of the various studies. A 200-page monograph containing reports of seven of the studies has been published by the Board.

Title:Parent involvement in the introduction of human relationships education in Queensland state primary schools
Researchers:Ms Sue Howard
Institution:Student - Griffith University, Gold Coast

This ethnographic study looked at the interactions between key parents and teachers in seven state primary schools during the process of developing a Human Relationships Education program. It explored the nature of these interactions and the rationales for involving parents, and discovered methods by which extreme parental views were managed at the local school level.

Title:Recent publications from the Board of Senior Secondary School Studies, Evaluation Research and Development Division
Researchers:Dr Reg Allen, Ms Deborah Turnbull, Dr Erica Travers, Ms Georgina Webb
Institution:Board of Senior Secondary School Studies

The presentation covers recent research projects and publications relating to Overall Position (OPs), the Student Eduction Profile (SEP), and comparability and assessment issues in Queensland senior schools.

Title:Vocational Education and Training Research Institution (VETRI)
Researchers:Dr Ralph Catts
Institution:VETRI, University of Southern Queensland

The Vocational Education and Training Research Institution (VETRI) has been established at USQ with initial funding from the National Priority Reserve Fund to foster research into the implications of the National Training Reform Agenda for industry and training institutions in regional Australia. The display reports a pilot study into the use of competency standards in workplace training.

Title:Consortium for Educational Research in Rural Australia (CERRA)
Researchers:Dr Ian Gibson
Institution:Centre for Educational Research & Development

Aims of Consortium:

Title:Principals, professional development and problem-based learning
Researchers:Dr Frank Crowther
Institution:University of Southern Queensland

This research centres around Project O.L.D. (that is, "Project Queensland Leader Development") which used problem-based learning to assist practising and aspiring principals in Queensland schools with their professional development. It is a four semester skills development course emanating from the Department of Education's Professional Development Framework for Principalship (1993) and the entrepreneurial initiative of School Support Centres at Mt. Coot-tha and Darling Downs Central. At this point there are seven centres involved with a total of about one hundred administrator-students. The Centres range in location from Central Brisbane to Rockhampton to Charleville.

The first semester of Project O.L.D. (February - June 1994) used problem-based learning to focus on the concept of corporate leadership. Participants identified and then worked through a corporate leadership problem that was of serious concern to them in their everyday practice.

The key issue addressed in our research into problem-based learning to date is the struggle that is involved in defining a "problem" within the framework of corporate leadership and then constructively addressing the problem both at the theoretical and practical level.

Title:Networking for academic staff development in higher education
Researchers:Dr Jill Borthwick
Institution:Queensland University of Technology

Universities in Australia increasingly have established centralised units whose assigned responsibility is the staff development of academics working in faculties and departments. These units commonly offer a spectrum of activities. These include workshops, retreats, individual and group consultations, and publications, often provided at a central location. In addition, units can set up networks designed to enhance staff development at the local level. One example of this sort of network involves the appointment of a member of staff within a faculty or department who provides collegial support in matters to do with staff development (particularly teaching) at the local level. The implementation of this sort of network in higher education represents an adaptation of the 'key teacher' model widely used in primary and secondary education.

Title:The preparation of future secondary teachers: An investigation into the importance of subject matter knowledge in initial teacher education programmes
Researchers:Ms Cheryl Sim
Institution:Griffith University, Nathan

The concern of this research in progress is the development of teacher education in the subject matter subject matter. This concern arises from research which identified that the "teach as I was taught" cycle is very influential on the future teaching practice of pre-service secondary teachers. As Bawden (1991:13) writes, "the way we go about our learning will influence that which is eventually learnt". In teacher education, the opportunities to explore alternative approaches to teaching the subject are focussed often on field studies. However, during field studies it is rare for student teachers to experience alternative approaches. The requirements of their supervisory teachers and lecturers often mean this is not the site to challenge established practice. If their opportunity must wait until their "real" existence in classrooms, other sites during their teacher preparation must provide the knowledge and confidence of alternative student-centred, active inquiry learning. One approach is to focus on their experiences as learners of history content.

Title:Years 1-10 English Language Arts implementation in secondary schools: three contrasting case studies
Researchers:Mrs Dulcie Patullo
Institution:ABC Literacy Consultants

In 1991, English Subject Heads of Department were trained as key teachers in ELA (1-10) and charged with the responsibility for inservice of all staff who taught English, and program review. Three case studies highlight the challenges as previewed by three Heads of Department; the ways in which they dealt with those challenges; and factors which supported or inhibited them in their efforts.

Title:The culture of literacy in small Australian communities
Researchers:Dr Michele Anstey, Dr Geoff Bull
Institution:University of Southern Queensland

The purpose of the study is to visit 3 isolated rural communities in North, South and Western Queensland, and to identify what is unique about the literacy practices in these communities. The reading and writing activities in which people participate will be documented, and other methods of communication will also be studied.

Title:Knowledge, beliefs and learning processes in the development of teaching skills by student teachers
Researchers:Mrs Merrilyn Goos
Institution:University of Queensland

This project investigated new procedures of mentoring and promoting reflection with student teachers to help increase the effectiveness of teaching practice in the development of teaching skills. Statistically, the procedures proved effective in terms of interaction and communication skills and an ability to recognise and make inferences from classroom events. This success was explained in terms of the tasks for the student teachers and the social support involved in the mentoring procedure, which in turn depended on a well defined theory of socially moderated learning.

Title:Current research in the Graduate School of Education, the University of Queensland
Researchers:Mr Graham Maxwell
Institution:University of Queensland

Current research of the 38 academic staff of the Graduate School of Education is illustrated by recent books published, journals produced or edited and ARC grants obtained (7 projects for $154,600 in 1994; 9 projects for $11,800 in 1993; 6 projects for $130,700 in 19992). The range of research activity is illustrated by recent PhDs awarded (17 in 1993/94) and some examples of staff research projects (10 in this display).

Title:The effects of structured and unstructured co-operative learning groups in students' behaviours, interactions and learning outcomes
Researchers:Dr Robyn Gillies
Institution:University of Queensland

This project consisted of 4 studies which examined those individual and group factors which interact to facilitate change in group co-operation and learning outcomes in structured and unstructured work groups of primary age children. The children in the structured groups were consistently more co-operative and helpful to each other. They actively tried to involve each other in the learning task by using language that was inclusive and they gave more explanations to assist each other and they worked together.

Title:The integration of Regional Adult Literacy Service infrastructures with adult literacy teacher education and training
Researchers:Ms Geraldine Castleton
Institution:Queensland University of Technology

This project was made possible through a National Priority (Reserve) Fund grant to the School of Language and Literacy Education, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology in October 1992. The project organisers identified two areas in which they determined QUT could make a significant contribution in terms of national priorities in adult literacy provision and program development. These were:

  1. the co-ordination of adult literacy services within a relatively large geographical region north of Brisbane, and
  2. the integration of adult literacy services needs with teacher training.
A resources audit showed that when the project commenced the region had no infrastructures in place to coordinate adult literacy services, identify needs, or to bring providers and users of adult literacy services in contact with each other. No systematic professional development programs were in place for those involved in teaching literacy to adults. The provisions which existed were organised autonomously with no systematic reference to needs across the region as a whole. Large gaps in service occurred as a result. The Project report makes seventeen recommendations and demonstrates that a Regional Adult Literacy Co-ordinator could be of particular benefit to rural regions where the population is widely dispersed, long distances separate centres of population, and resources are limited.

Title:Prevalence and nature of child sexual abuse in Queensland and school counsellors responses
Researchers:Ms Usha Padayachi
Institution:University of Queensland< /td>

Two major studies were undertake to determine the nature and prevalence of child sexual abuse in Queensland and the school counsellors' attitudes, knowledge and training skills in dealing with cases of abuse. The results of the two studies show that child sexual abuse is a widespread problem in Queensland and school counsellors in Queensland were not well equipped with the knowledge and skills to respond to the cases.

Title:Overview of current research (Schonell Centre)
Researchers:Anne Jobling
Institution:University of Queensland

  1. During the past 16 years, the Schonell Centre Down Syndrome Project has amassed a unique data set on the development of persons with Down Syndrome (DS) from early childhood to late adolescence. This project has contributed knowledge which highlights the marked individual differences among children with DS.
  2. Process-Based Instruction (PBI) forms the pedagogical context for the long term study of classroom teaching practices. PBI was developed from earlier strategy training research to enhance collaboration between teachers and their students.
  3. In the past 5 years, a longitudinal study has focussed on a comparison of children with and without a learning difficulty by documenting children's progress in academic achievement (such as reading and writing) and in non-academic areas.
  4. A major research program in the area of severe/multiple disabilities focussing on developing effective intervention procedures is in progress.

Title:The Australian Education Council, l987-1993
Researchers:Dr John Knight
Institution:University of Queensland

The Australian Education Council existed from 1936-1993. The period from 1936 to 1986 was documented by Andy Spaull in a commissioned history. This project continues that survey from 1987 to the demise of the AEC in 1993. Its focus is on the changing forms of collaboration between the States and the Commonwealth across educational sectors (schooling, TAFE and universities).

Title:Comparison of a Queensland student population for two measures of self-perception
Researchers:Mr Ian Hay
Institution:Griffith University

Students' self-perception (self-esteem and self-concept) is now considered to be multidimensional, in contrast to the previous notions that it was nomothetic and unidimensional. This re-conceptualisation of self-perception has lead to the development of new self-perception instruments which include the Self-Description Questionnaire-1 (SDQ-1: March, 1988) and the Perception of Ability Scale for Students (PASS: Boersma 8z Chapman, 1992). However, neither of these new instruments have Queensland norms: The PASS was normed on North American and New Zealand students and the SDQ-1 on urban New South Wales students. Based on a sample of 515 Year 5 students drawn from 18 schools representing a range of urban locations from inner city to outer suburbs the following research question was investigated: are there differences between the responses of the norming population used for the Self-Description Questionnaire-1 and the Perception of Ability Scale for Students and a population of Queensland students?

Title:National development and education in Tonga: A critical policy review
Researchers:Ms Asinate Samate
Institution:Queensland University

This study looks at the current and future concepts of national development and its relationship to education in Tonga. It focuses on concepts of development which go wider than economics and include the socio-cultural and political, and those which are tailored more to the overall needs of Tonga and less to the criteria set by aid agencies and western models. A new model of development has been proposed as a result.

Title:An investigation into reporting students' writing achievements using descriptive assessment
Researchers:Mr Bruce Howden
Institution:Anglican Church Grammar School

Assessment has two major purposes in the curricular life of schools. Broadfoot (1992:2) referred to these as assessment for curriculum and assessment for communication. Essentially, they provide the mechanisms by which judgments are made about the current learning processes and the means by which this information is conveyed.

The project was set in the primary school of a large independent boys' school in Queensland. It sought to develop a procedure for conveying to parents the achievements of students in the writing strand of the school's English Language Arts syllabus. A sample of 31 students undertook 6 writing tasks drawn from the core genres in the school's syllabus on an absolute standards-based scale rather than on a relative or developmental scale. Teachers from each Year level ranked these papers and reached consensus on the features associated with each level of achievement. When these descriptors were accompanied by matched exemplar papers, the set of standards was determined.

The standards were intended to define clearly a set of writing achievement levels that transcended Year levels to enable communication to parents regarding the stages which their children had achieved and the levels towards which they were progressing. Significantly, it also provided evidence to teachers of the attainment groupings within their classrooms, enabling them to adjust their programs and teaching procedures.

Title:101 developmental psychologists: preliminary survey data
Researchers:Dr Fiona Bryer
Institution:Griffith University

The Australian Psychological Society's Board of Educational and Developmental Psychologists appears to be a heterogenous professional body. A detailed survey sent to all members aimed to examine this assumed diversity and the nature and extent of underlying common interests in development. Rationalisation of school-based psychological services in most states, moreover, has implications for growth of private practice, shift of academics into part-time practice, and supervision. Questions in the 6-page survey therefore ranged across member demographics, theoretical orientation, supervision and continuing education, profile of developmental knowledge and skills, and nature of professional reading.

The 101 members who returned surveys represent approximately 20 per cent of Board membership. The sample characteristics show a strong response from well established psychologists with mean career spans of 16-20 years, mean income of $45-50,000, and mean age in the forties (range 25-76+). Approximately half of the sample are, respectively, female, Victorian, and have held positions in APS. Most live in capital cities and have daily or weekly contact will colleagues. Most use computers. Although most do not have internet access to electronic ma il, the third who do support a bulletin board. Most are registered and in "psychological" types of occupation. Approximately 40 percent are in school psychological positions. They are evenly distributed among self-employment, government, or university, but part-part practices are also reported by over 20 percent. Indeed, over 50 percent of members' time is spent in practice, and over 50 percent contact with children involves direct intervention and clinic cases.

More detailed distribution data on these features of the sample will be provided. Moreover, using this survey, we can also look at psychological activities and other issues of professional interest. Furthermore, heterogeneity of work activities is examined from individual multidimensional profiles based on complete response protocols for subsets of standard Board-required knowledge: age, theoretical orientation, other knowledge bases (e.g., psychopathology, neuropsychology), professional issues, and use of tests (only 1/3 of respondents provided complete data sets for these items).

Title:Queensland adult and child/ESL literacy research network nodes
Researchers:Jill Ryan
Institution:Griffith University

The National Languages and Literacy Institute of Australia (NLLIA) is developing Adult Literacy and Child/ESL Literacy Research Networks in each state and territory. In Queensland, adult literacy and child / ESL literacy research network nodes have been established at Griffith University. The display provides information about the research activities of the Queensland nodes and includes examples of recent literacy research projects undertaken in Queensland.

Title:A review of forums
Researchers:Shirley O'Neill, Peter Varley
Institution:Queensland Education Department

As a result of Focus on Schools, statewide forums were established as critical structures in the management information and decision-making functions of the department. They were designed to promote consultation and confidence in policy and decision-making, and to ensure that likely implications of final decisions would be taken into account. The forum process was intended to support the major central office functions of policy development and coordination. Statewide forums were also designed to facilitate the consideration of issues generated at regional and school community levels.

The purposes of the review were to document the emerging forum structures, to examine their business within the context of the information management and decision-making processes of the department, to establish the use made of the consultative processes, and to support efforts of forum members to refine and streamline processes and gain maximum efficiency and effectiveness in their work.

Several approaches were adopted for the review. One key approach was the derivation of a model based on the management organisational structure of the department and the program logic which underpins program management. This model provided a basis for identifying the role of forums in the collaborative management information system. It also provided a basis for interpreting the roles of forums and served to focus data gathering and interpretation of information. In addition, the number and range of ensuing regional forums and their functions were identified and a generic map of the consultative process in terms of broad structures and relationships constructed. A set of regional maps of forums and school community links was created. The business of statewide forums was analysed and the links and flow of agenda items tracked to derive information about the participation of central, regional, school community and wider community groups in forum processes.

At each stage of the data gathering, information from documentation and other sources was shared with respondents as a means of focussing their responses. This was viewed as particularly necessary in a study which had to deal with a large amount of information which spanned a period of twelve months and included eleven regions and central office.

Title:Assessment of Performance Program 1993
Researchers:Val Ingham
Institution:Queensland Department of Education

Accountability information in education is in demand with respect to individual students, classrooms, schools and systems as a whole. At the system level, accountability information is sought for quality assurance, resource advocacy, development, planning and policy making.

The Assessment of Performance Program (APP) is an ongoing project established to provide comprehensive, statewide student learning outcome information for accountability purposes. It provides a point-in-time snapshot which portrays performance in selected aspects of key learning areas across year levels and allows comparisons over time to be made. The APP was deliberately constrained to achieve this aim in a non-intrusive, cost-efficient manner.

The method adopted falls within the psychometric tradition. Using light sampling and an Item Response Theory (IRT) approach, the program established a process by which student learning outcomes can be described and monitored over time.

The 1993 Assessment of Performance Program produced measures of student performance in mathematics. The program also explored student attitude towards mathematics.

Equal samples (approximately 5 percent) of Years 5, 7 and 9 students in regular schooling throughout Queensland participated in the 1993 program. Three separate samples were drawn. In all, some 5800 students from almost 300 schools were involved in the program. Testing took place in September 1993.

To allow direct comparisons of performance to be made between student mathematics performance in 1990 and that in 1993, data from the 1990 Assessment of Performance Program were re-scaled to the 1993 scale. Tasks common to both testing occasions provided the basis for this procedure.

Results show:

Comparisons of 1993 student performance with that in 1990 show:

Title:Research into the comparability of tertiary entrance schedules
Researchers:Ms Julie Straughair
Institution:Tertiary Entrance Procedures Authority (TEPA)

In its role of monitoring and review of tertiary entrance procedures, TEPA has looked at how Year 12 and adult aspirants are "compared" in the application process for university and TAFE courses.

In addressing this issue some 60 types of schedules, used by tertiary institutions, through QTAC over the previous 6 admission years (1988 to 1993) for assessing diverse qualifications have been classified, documented and analysed.

The current second phase of the research is exploring the association be tween the marks accorded by different schedules and the subsequent performance of students in tertiary study.

Title:The use of prerequisites in selecting school leavers for higher education
Researchers:Mr Ian Goodwin
Institution:T.E.P.A.

The presentation examines the state and changes in prerequisite specifications for courses for the period 1992-96. The display focuses on undergraduate courses offered through QTAC and available to Year 12 school leavers.

Title:T.E.P.A's Research Publications
Researchers:Ms Majbritt Reugebrink
Institution:T.E.P.A.

T.E.P.A's research program comprises studies undertaken and/or commissioned by T.E.P.A. into issues concerning tertiary entrance in Queensland. As the results of those studies become available they are reported in a range of publication formats including T.E.P.A's Research Report Series, the Surveys and Studies Series, and discussion papers. This presentation displays the bulk of T.E.P.A.'s research publications to date.

Title:How far is too far for tertiary entrance?
Researchers:Barry Cameron
Institution:T.E.P.A.

As regional development of tertiary education and relocation of funds across institutions and State borders gain higher priority on political agendas, student readiness to travel for tertiary entrance must be reconsidered within education planning.

Data from State admissions centres provide a basis for mapping applicant mobility and could be influential in the emerging debate on the desirability of a national tertiary admissions centre.

The poster addresses selected issues on the readiness of Queensland tertiary applicants to study away from home.

Please cite as: QIER (1994). 1994 Annual Research Forum: Abstracts. Queensland Researcher, 10(2), 19-32. http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/qjer/qr10/forum-abs.html


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