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Research and Development in Colleges of Advanced Education
AUTHORS: Warren Jones and John Ainley
DETAILS: ACER Research Monograph No. 31 Pages: 128 Price: S14.95
DATE: August 1987 REFERENCE: ISBN: 0 86431 0145

ACER has released a report on research and development in colleges of advanced education. This report describes the wide range of research and development activities in CAEs and shows that the amount of research and development in those institutions is greater than has often been formally acknowledged. The report is the result of a research study commissioned by the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission.

Even though the extent of research and development reported in CAEs was less than that in universities it was an important and growing activity. Research in CAEs was predominantly 'applied research' and 'experimental development', and in that respect differed from the mostly 'pure' and 'strategic basic' research reported by universities. The report provides descriptions of a number of examples of research projects being undertaken in CAEs.

Within the advanced education sector, research activity was greatest in science and engineering fields and, other things being equal, appeared to be greater for the larger metropolitan institutes of technology than for other types of institution.

Originally CAEs were seen as differing from universities in according greater emphasis to teaching and less to research. CAEs now fill a more diverse role in a range of institutions, in a variety of courses across different fields of study, and through associated non-teaching activities. Research and development now occupies a significant place in many of those institutions.

Arguments that have sometimes been advanced in support of research and development in CAEs can be grouped in two linked categories: those which are research as necessary for high quality higher education in a climate of professional activity and scholarship (with a special need for those teaching in technological fields to be at the leading edge of development), and those in which research and development is seen as utilizing the intellectual and material resources in CAEs for community and industry benefit (especially where alternative sources of expertise are not readily available).

The report documents the organizational support provided for research and development by CAEs through research centres, research companies, and college research committees. There was evidence of a steady increase in the funds attracted from external sources over the three years from 1983 to 1985. More generally, initiatives by the Commonwealth (for example, the Key Centres for Teaching and Research Program) to encourage research and development in CAEs appeared to have been successful and have also highlighted the research capabilities of some of those institutions.

Participation in Education
AUTHORS: Trevor Williams
DETAILS: ACER Research Monograph No. 30 Pages: 215 Price: S14.95
DATE: April, 1987 REFERENCE: ISBN O 86431 007 2

This report is the first ever to offer a comprehensive nationwide picture of participation in education. Many of the facts presented run counter to our cherished beliefs about the 'who' and 'why' of this matter and some educational myths suffer in the process. These sometimes controversial findings have stimulated nationwide media coverage of the report.

Basically, the report documents participation in eight forms of education: completion of Year 12; post-secondary education; TAFE; apprenticeships; higher education; universities; CAEs; and degree programs. Data provided by two national probability samples of young people four years apart in age are used to estimate participation rates on an 'ever/never' basis; for each sample, the proportions who had ever been enrolled in these various forms of education by age 19, and for the oldest sample, a further estimate to age 22.

Matters to do with educational policy are accommodated by providing estimates of participation rates across the categories of family social and economic status, ethnicity, rurality, school system, gender and State/Territory of residence. A further two attributes, 'school achievement' and 'schooling completed', are added to this list. Differences in participation rates - especially, differences in these rates, other things equal - are examined with the view to documenting group differences in participation which might be seen as inequitable.

The report is written in 'plain English' and is suitable for a non-specialist audience. Marginal notes provided throughout the text, and in a summary statement at the beginning of the report, make the main findings readily accessible to the reader. Some examples of these findings follow:


Curriculum Design

The Branch works in close co-operation with industry, commerce and the wider community in designing approximately 200 new or revised courses each year. Education Officers establish Curriculum Development Advisory Committees to determine occupational profiles. These profiles, together with other information such as the likely future of the vocational area, are used as a basis on which to select course content. Curriculum officers ensure that courses articulate with other TAFE courses and with courses provided in other sectors of education.

All TAFE courses are classified using the national system of streams and fields. The course classification is used as a basis for assigning an award and for preparing submissions for approval, accreditation and registration. Once a course has been designed and classified, the branch arranges for its recognition by relevant bodies, such as professional associations, licensing authorities, governmental agencies and the Industry and Commerce Training Commission.

The Branch is also responsible for co-ordinating the design and approval processes involved when Colleges design short courses to meet the needs of local communities. In addition to statewide and local curricular activities, officers are also involved in national projects where TAFE clients seek consistency of approach across the country.

Interaction with the Community

Curriculum officers work w1th industrial organisations and agencies, as well as with individual firms. They are also representatives on a number of governmental and community groups. These include the Industry and Commerce Advisory Committees of the Industry and Commerce Training Commission, Industry Working Groups associated w1th Traineeships, and Industry Training Committees established by the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations.

Course Assessment and Accreditation

Courses are assessed by Assessment panels comprised mainly of qualified people from the relevant occupational area. These panels ensure that the course and the level of award are appropriate, and that colleges are adequately resourced to offer it.

The Branch arranges for assessed courses to be considered for accreditation and for accredited courses to be forwarded to the Australian Council for Tertiary Awards to be registered.

Curriculum Implementation

Officers of the branch establish networks of teachers during course design to obtain input and to prepare teachers for new and revised courses. In addition, staff development is conducted to assist teachers in acquiring the needed knowledge and skills. Implementation can also involve the establishment of ongoing consultative committees.

Learning Resources

The State RMC for TAFE provides a centralised service to all colleges in acquiring and cataloguing all book and non-book materials housed in college libraries. Approximately 25,000 items are processed each year, achieving massive economies of scale, and considerable savings through bulk purchases. College libraries also derive considerable benefit from the Union catalogue which enables them to locate and borrow resources quickly from any other college in the network. Within the branch, projects are also undertaken to develop learning resources for use by students.

Student Assessment

Overall assessment policies for all courses are set by the Curriculum Branch. Within each course area, assessment procedures are determined during curriculum design in consultation with the client group. Officers assist colleges with assessment through seminars, staff development and regular bulletins. Officers also formally review assessment instruments developed in each college, and arrange for peer review by other colleges. Branch officers assist colleges in determining exemptions, credits and awards.


The branch maintains a course register of all TAFE courses end subjects offered throughout the State, and a syllabus for each course and subject. This information is used as a data base for a variety of TAFE activities. An exemptions precedent manual is also maintained for use by colleges. The branch also formulates and maintains documentation for all aspects of curriculum policy in TAFE.

Research and Evaluation

Officers in the branch are involved in educational research and evaluation. Typical evaluation projects are directed at the improvement of the design or implementation of courses. In this way, courses can be changed to meet more fully the needs of the groups served by the course. Research is aimed at improving various aspects of the TAFE course delivery system such as the use of modern technology and the nature of the TAFE teaching/learning environment.

Divisional Library

The Divisional Library provides a library service to Head Office personnel and TAFE beginning teachers. It supports the professional development of college and head office staff and maintains the Queensland TAFE Clearinghouse. This clearinghouse is part of a national network which provides access to published documents relating to TAFE across Australia. The library is part of the network of 27 Queensland TAFE libraries.

Interaction with other Branches of TAFE

The TAFE Curriculum Branch is one of several branches in the D1vision of TAFE which service TAFE Colleges. Because of the need for TAFE to be flexible and to respond rapidly to changing societal needs, the branch works closely with those branches of TAFE concerned with staffing, equipment, buildings materials, finances and buildings.


Melbourne, Australia
24 to 26 August 1988

A Forum to debate significant current contributions
to the Understanding and Improvement of
Intelligence organized by:

Australian Council for Educational Research

Expressions of Interest - Contact:Dr Helga A.H. Rowe
Chief Research Officer
Australian Council for Educational Research
P.O. Box 210 Hawthorn VIC 3122

Please cite as: QIER (1987). Publication reviews and Notices 3(3). Queensland Researcher, 3(3), 65-72. http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qr3/book-revs-notices-3-3.html

[ Contents Vol 3, 1987 ] [ QJER Home ]
Created 22 Mar 2008. Last revision: 4 Mar 2013.
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