[ Contents Vol 3, 1987 ] [ QJER Home ]
The purpose of this section is to provide brief information regarding recently completed research studies in Queensland. It is anticipated that the section may be modified to some extent in future editions in order to serve more adequately the requirements of readers. Suggestions for improving the format or content are welcome.
Intending contributors should forward a short abstract of their work, together with relevant biographical data, to: The Editor, Queensland Researcher, Research Services, Queensland Department of Education, P.O. Box 33, North Quay Q 4002.
|Title:||PARTICIPATION AND EQUITY PROGRAM - Queensland Target Schools In-School Study: Glenmore State High School|
|Institution:||Research Services Branch, Queensland Department of Education|
The Participation and Equity Program (PEP) aims to bring about broadly based changes in secondary education. The main objectives are to reduce significantly the number of students leaving full-time education prematurely, and to foster equal educational outcomes. The Program is funded by the Commonwealth and administered at the national level by the Schools Commission.
In Queensland, 75 State secondary schools were targeted for special assistance. Each was invited to submit proposals for special funding to a State PEP committee which administers the Program in Queensland .
Research Services Branch is responsible for monitoring and evaluating school-based PEP activities on a Statewide basis. The evaluation has two components:
This report summarises an on-site study carried out at Glenmore State High School at the end of 1985. The on-site studies have two main purposes:
- general monitoring to obtain broad details of the initiatives in each of the 75 target schools; and
- a series of intensive studies of PEP programs in selected schools by means of on-site visits.
On the first visit to Glenmore, lasting five days, a Branch officer held discussions and interviews with persons associated with the School's program. Based on the information obtained, instruments were drawn up for collecting more quantitative data, to be used on a subsequent four-day visit.
- to provide the State PEP Committee, with examples of how the Program is actually being implemented in schools; and
- to help the schools evaluate their own PEP initiatives.
The School and its environment
Glenmore State High School opened in 1975 and is located in North Rockhampton. Rockhampton, with a population of 55~000, is a tropical city. Educational facilities in the city include a TAFE college and the Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education.
In 1955, there were 800 students and 56 teaching staff at the School. Of the 19~15 Year 10 students, 64 per cent lived in the residential district close to the school - a middle-to low-middle-class neighbourhood with pockets of run-down lower income housing and some groups of well-kept moderately expensive brick homes. Others travelled to school by bus from nearby areas, including a select upper middle class district and sections of low-income housing, or from outlying city areas or neighbouring centres.
Glenmore has responded to the diversity in students' home environments and socio-economic conditions by adopting a philosophy that every student has special needs, and designing a program to meet the particular needs of each individual irrespective of background or academic ability.
The original school buildings are typical of the high-set secondary schools built in the 1950s and 1960s, but with open-area classroom space. Newer, more modern buildings have been added since. A lack of covered space has been a problem, but a multi-purpose shelter is expected to be in use by the second half of 1986, providing cover for various physical education and craft activities.
The open-area classrooms have been used to advantage. The senior school, Board subjects and parallel School subjects (English and Communications, for example) are timetabled together in the same open area. Students needing additional attention therefore have the services of more than one teacher, while others work independently. This team-teaching method also permits the School to offer a broader curriculum than would otherwise be possible.
Glenmore appears to be a happy school. In keeping with the School's philosophy, students are respected and treated as individuals. They do not wear uniforms or face corporal punishment as a means of disciplinary action. There are no bells and no regimentation; and students move independently to their next classes at the end of defined periods of instruction and study. Surveys of the junior school showed that the majority of students had positive attitudes towards their school, their teachers and their peers. Their relationship with staff members seemed relaxed and co-operative. They appeared to be proud of their school and the opportunities it had to offer. Glenmore's teaching staff seemed to be receptive to new ideas and willing to exert additional effort when required. Staff cohesiveness is maintained through a continuing school in-service program which provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, and a means of integrating new staff members into the Glenmore approach.
The curriculum at Glenmore at the time of the study was characterised by increasing choice from one year level to the next, with specialisation delayed until Year 10.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PEP ACTION PLAN
The final structure of Glenmore's action plan was based largely on the findings of parent and student surveys conducted by the School in late 1984. The surveys identified three program needs:
Although no formal school PEP committee or community advisory committee was established at Glenmore, the School's PEP Co-ordinator and other members of the administration encouraged the school staff and members of the community to take part in the decision-making process. The year 1985 was devoted mainly to planning. When the evaluator visited the School towards the end of 1985, Glenmore had received most of the resources approved under its major PEP submission, and the School expected to proceed with full implementation of its program by the start of the 1986 school year.
- changes in both the formal and the informal curriculum;
- extension of the existing careers awareness program; and
- development of a scheme to promote community interaction, including both teacher-parent and student-community participation.
Glenmore's action plan focused on four areas of change:
1. Strengthening the informal curriculum
The School's 1984 survey had shown a need for additional lunch-time activities, a need the School intended to meet by reorganising and extending its informal curriculum.
Under PEP, extra equipment and resources have beer, made available to the 10 existing clubs and four new clubs have been equipped, to begin operation in 1986. Efforts were also to be made through the new Community Liaison Unit to encourage parents and other community members to take part in club activities.
Data collected by the evaluator indicated that in 1985 approximately half of the junior school students took part in existing club activities. This is a benchmark against which the future success of the PEP initiative in this area can be judged. Other data indicated little relationship between club participation and socio-economic factors apart from the fact that students who lived some distance from the School and Aboriginal students participated less than others. Year 10 students who were planning to continue to Year 11 participated in clubs more than those who were planning to leave.
2. Curriculum change in Years 11 and 12
Ten school subjects were offered in Year 11 at Glenmore in 1985, but only four attracted full class numbers. With the assistance of PEP funds, staff in subject departments worked on a program to replace two of the subjects and introduce two new subjects, rewrite a third, and modify or extend others. In addition, Social Mathematics was rewritten and new units were introduced. Subject departments were responsible for listing the resources required to implement the curriculum changes in 1986.
The main purpose of the curriculum changes was to encourage students to continue to Year 12. Although there had been a steady increase in Year 11 enrolments in recent years, approximately one-third of 1984's Year 10 students had not returned to Year 11, and enrolments in some of the Year 11 school subjects were low.
3. Extension of counselling services and careers information
Careers education has been a developing program at Glenmore over several years. Under PEP it will be further developed and extended. A career reference centre was to be established within the new Administration Block from the start of 1986. Various items of equipment and careers resources, including video-cassettes, personal computers and software packages, were provided with PEP funding. These are to be used in conjunction with a student values assessment program in careers awareness. The new program will be co-ordinated with the careers education and work experience programs presently operating.
A computerised careers program was also to be established in 1986, with the Community Liaison Officer providing careers advice for students and parents when the Guidance Officer was not available.
This program is intended to help students establish career goals and thereby:
- encourage more Year 10 students to continue on to Year 11;
- Inform potential Year 11 students of the merits of a comprehensive programs as opposed to study directed towards the attainment of a TE score; and
- encourage Year 11 students to complete Year 12.
4. Establishment of a Community Liaison Unit
The Community Liaison Unit established at Glenmore High represented something quite new. It was assigned an office in the new Administration Block, and a Community Liaison Officer and an administrative assistant were appointed in late 1985. The purposes of the Unit are to establish a two-way process of communication between the School and its extended community, and to promote the goals of the School's Participation and Equity program.
The Unit's activities are expected to induce community members to participate more actively in club, sporting and other school activities. Parents will be encouraged to seek information on career choices and curriculum options for their children. The Community Liaison Officer will assist with the scheduling and organisation of lunch-time and after-school activities, and co-ordinate educational experiences which require involvement of students in community activities (e.g. work experience).
Evaluation of Glenmore's PEP initiatives was based on what appeared to be the key relevant characteristics of the School, its curriculum, and its PEP initiatives.
Relevant key characteristics of the School and its curriculum were:
Relevant key characteristics of the School's PEP initiatives were:
- The School, although relatively new, had a history of innovation. It was therefore receptive to change and its understanding of the changing role of secondary education provided a base on which to build the program of PEP initiatives.
- The School served a diverse population, with a large segment of students coming from relatively culturally disadvantaged homes. The school philosophy, influenced by this fact, was that students should be respected as individuals and given educational opportunities suited to their particular needs.
- The informal curriculum was strongly emphasised. Lunch-hour club activities were especially encouraged to provide students with cultural enrichment, and to overcome the problems resulting from the lack of shaded areas in the school grounds.
Although the full array of PEP initiatives would not take effect until 1986, it was already possible to explore some outcomes at the time of the study. Preparation of new Senior courses for 1986 had been completed; the new Community Liaison Unit had been established; the School's PEP plan had been finalised and the submission approved at regional and State levels; and the existing system of clubs, some of which had already benefited from PEP support, provided a basis for initiatives relating to the informal curriculum. The evaluator therefore sought answers to the following set of research questions:
- The initiatives represented a cautious move forward, building on the base of established progress.
- A strong emphasis was placed on improving links between the school and its community.
- The initiatives covered all year levels in the School, tackling identified priorities on a broad front.
- The School's central administration group carried out the overall planning of the program with contributions from the subject departments and club co-ordinators, and in consultation with parents.
- What proportion of Year 10 students intends to return to Year 11, and which subjects are they intending to take? Is there any variation in these intentions according to socio-economic background?
- How clear are the intended functions of the Community Liaison Unit? Which of its duties has it begun? What are its initial priorities?
- How aware is the school staff of the Participation and Equity Program generally, and the initiatives planned for the School in particular? What is the level of acceptance of these among the school staff?
- What is the current level of participation in club activities? Is there any variation in participation with socio-economic background of students?
- A survey of the Year 10 students' intentions for 1986 showed that slightly more than 70 per cent would probably return to Year 11. Of these, about four-fifths would choose five or six Board subjects, making a Tertiary Entrance score possible, and close to 80 per cent would choose at least one of the School subjects. The proportion of 1985 Year 10 students likely to enter Year 11 in 1986 was, however, similar to the actual figure for the previous year. As well, the students' stated intentions indicated that the new and revised school subjects would not attract more students than those previously offered. Evidently, there was a need for efforts to make students and parents aware of the nature and value of courses not leading to a TE score.
One of the school administrators considered that some parents, being conservative, were reluctant to let students take the new courses. The low enrolments in some of the existing subjects was therefore considered to be less important than the fact that the School was providing for all and not forcing students into subjects that did not interest them. Nevertheless, many of the Year 10 students indicated that they would like to take certain subjects in Year 11, but that various factors, including timetable conflicts, were preventing them.
A simple analysis of the students' intentions by socio-economic nature of residence showed that the percentage of students from lower income areas who intended to return to Year 11 was less than for higher income areas (65 per cent compared with 75 percent). This disparity in participation intentions is predictable in direction, and not large enough to cause disappointment for the School. Efforts to increase retention rates further may need, however' to concentrate on the lower income groups.
- Discussions with the Principal and the newly appointed Community Liaison Officer indicated that the objectives for the Community Liaison Unit were clear and comprehensive Nevertheless, much work remained to be done to identify immediate priorities and establish practical processes for operating the Unit. A key question would be what role the Officer would play in planning or setting up structures for student, parent and community involvement in school planning and review.
- A survey of the school staff explored awareness of, and commitment to, the Participation and Equity Program in general and the School's initiatives in particular. Teachers' perceptions were that the Participation and Equity Program has four general goals:
- increased retention of students to Years 11 and 12;
- elimination of inequalities due to social group membership;
- promotion of school and community partnership; and
- compensation for various forms of disadvantage.
Most of the teachers mentioned one or two of these goals indicating a certain vagueness and narrowness in their perceptions of the Program, and of its place in the School' general philosophy. Few seemed to recognise PEP as a program of school renewal.
Staff commitment to PEP goals were gauged according to teachers' stated willingness to become involved in a range of suggested PEP-type activities. A majority of the staff indicated on most items that they were neutral or willing. They indicated least willingness on items related to increased retention for Aboriginal students, whole-school appraisal and curricular review. They were most willing on items related to encouraging lower income groups to participate more in school activities, improving teacher-student relationships, and making subjects more student centred.
About one-third of the staff showed a low level of awareness of the School's PEP initiatives, especially those outside their own subject areas. Possibly this was because of the way the Program was organised: subject departments were responsible for PEP planning in their own areas; PEP planning was centralised to the administration; and there was no specific PEP in-service program for staff.
As to staff acceptance of the school initiatives, most indicated that the new and revised subjects in Years 11 and 12, the careers awareness program, and the increased emphasis on the informal curriculum were all very worthwhile. Most considered the Community Liaison Unit to be worthwhile, although about one-quarter 'could not say' .
In summary, while staff reactions fell short of universal enthusiastic commitment, they were generally positive and indicated a willingness to be involved.
- Surveys of club involvement of junior students revealed that slightly more than half took part. Participation seemed to be unrelated to students' socio-economic background, but lower percentages of those who lived in outlying areas took part. In Year 10, club participation was higher among those who were planning to go on to Year 11 than among those who planned to leave.
These findings lend support to the School's decision to strengthen the informal curriculum as a PEP initiative.
By the end of 1985, the School had:
The School hoped to achieve the following long-term goals as a result of the PEP initiatives:
- completed its planning and established a framework for a workable program;
- reorganised the 1986 Senior course;
- established a Community Liaison Unit;
- provided broader educational experiences b y expanding an activities program to operate during lunch-time, after schools and at the weekend; and
- developed a careers awareness program, to come into operation at the start of 1986, which would include a careers reference centre for both students and community use.
Some areas which might require increased attention in future initiatives are the needs to:
- an increase in community participation in all aspects of the school program;
- a reciprocal involvement of students in the affairs of the community;
- closer and more satisfying relationships among teachers, parents and students;
- a continued increase in the proportion of students continuing into the senior years; and
- a school community whose horizons were broadened and expanded by their voluntary participation in the School's activities programs.
Findings of the study indicate that PEP is exerting a strong influence on the School. Not only has it induced staff to re-evaluate and redefine program goals; it has also influenced school expansion into new areas. The new funding for equipment and materials seems to have given a boost to teachers' enthusiasm in their respective subjects.
- identify more clearly the working role of the Community Liaison Officer in establishing greater community involvement in school affairs;
- access any special needs or characteristics of lower socio-economic groups, students who travel some distance to school, and Aboriginal students;
- access the long-term impact of the informal curriculum or school activities program;
- inform students, parents and the community of the nature and value of the new subjects offered in Years 11 and 12; and
- develop staff awareness and acceptance of PEP goals and school PEP initiatives.
The School's previous experience with innovation in secondary education provided a sound base for its PEP initiatives. Future progress can be expected as commitment to school improvement processes is developed among staff, parents and the school community.
|Further Information is available from: ||B. Kramer, E. Hobbs|
Research Services Branch
Department of Education
P.O. Box 33,
North Quay, Q. 4002
Phone: (07) 227 7194
|Title:||Evaluation of the Bachelor of Education Degree in the Queensland Advanced Education System|
|Author:||Duck, G. and Webb, E.|
|Institution:||Board of Teacher Education|
Bachelor of Education programs are offered in the Queensland advanced education system as in-service degree programs for teachers with at least one year's teaching experience. Teachers who hold a Diploma of Teaching can complete the Bachelor of Education degree by undertaking the equivalent of a further year's full-time study. Most teachers who complete the degree do so by part-time internal or external study.
In 1984, the Board of Teacher Education began an evaluation of the Bachelor of Education degree. The project aimed to provide information to the Board to assist it in its role of keeping teacher education in Queensland under review. A second aim of the project was to provide information which the teacher education community in general could use in on-going reviews of and thinking about Bachelor of Education programs.
A conceptual framework, based on a review of the literature on in-service teacher education and adult development and preliminary interviews with teachers and teacher educators, was developed to guide data collection. Data were collected in the following broad areas: teacher entry characteristics, motivation to enrol, aims of Bachelor of Education programs, content and organisation of Bachelor of Education programs, student experiences within the course, school contextual factors and outcomes.
The methodology for the study involved the use of interviews and questionnaires, as well as document analysis. Information was collected from the following groups: recent graduates of Bachelor of Education programs, teachers currently enrolled in Bachelor of Education programs, teachers who had withdrawn from a Bachelor of Education program, teachers not now nor previously enrolled in a Bachelor of Education degree, school administrators and teacher educators.
DISCUSSION OF SELECTED RESULTS
Concept of the Bachelor of Education degree as the final phase of initial teacher preparation.
In the 1978 Review of Teacher Education in Queensland, it was argued that the initial phase of teacher preparation should consist of a pre-service component (typically a three-year Diploma of Teaching), an induction phase of at least one year's teaching in a school and an in-service phase, namely the completion of a Bachelor of Education degree. This has become widely known as the 3+x+1 or Bassett pattern of initial teacher preparation. The main argument used in the 1978 Review for the Bachelor of Education to be completed in-service was that some aspects of educational theory are best understood by teachers when they are illuminated by practical experience. Thus, the study of these aspects of educational theory are delayed until the in-service Bachelor of Education year.
The proposals put forward in the 1978 Review were subsequently adopted in Queensland and incorporated into Guidelines for the Development of Teacher Education courses in Queensland. While agreeing with the spirit of the Review Committee's recommendation, the Board of Teacher Education decided not to make completion of the Bachelor of Education degree mandatory for full registration as a teacher, as had been recommended by the Committee.
The findings of the evaluation provided grounds for questioning the continued acceptance of the 3+x+1 pattern as the sole or even the main method for the initial preparation of teachers.
Arguments for initial teacher preparation being completed pre-service are:
The findings which argue for the 3+x+1 pattern include:
- Sixty-three per cent of teachers first enrolling in a Bachelor of Education in 1985 had at least six years' teaching experience at time of enrolment; it is therefore difficult to regard the Bachelor of Education as part of an initial package which all teachers must complete before they are regarded as fully-qualified members of the profession.
- Teachers' family and teaching commitments make part-time study difficult.
- It is difficult for teachers to return to study after a break of a number of years.
- A four-years' pre-service degree would mean a more thorough preparation for beginning teachers.
- Completion of initial qualification in-service places teachers at a disadvantage with respect to other professions.
The results suggest that an optional pre-service Bachelor of Education should be available to meet the learning preferences and commitments of certain students, and that the 3+x+1 pattern should also be retained.
- The Bachelor of Education appears to be working well and is a positive influence on teacher development.
- Theory can be illuminated by practical experience which can only be gained from teaching.
- Completion of initial preparation in-service discourages teachers from concluding their education is complete after pre-service.
- The in-service Bachelor of Education provides an opportunity for teachers to re-think their approach to education.
- It rejuvenates teachers who have lost their enthusiasm for teaching.
- It provides opportunities for teachers to interact with teachers from a range of curriculum areas and educational sectors .
- It provides opportunities for lecturers to interact with experienced teachers and to improve their understanding and knowledge of schools.
Efficacy of Bachelor of Education Programs
The Bachelor of Education degree was generally seen as a positive influence on school and teacher development. The results indicate that the degree had a greater influence on a teachers' understand and awareness and development of a critical perspective than on classroom practice directly.
School climate had a significant influence on the efficacy of the Bachelor of Education. Change was more likely to occur in schools in which principals supported innovation and gave teachers the opportunity to experiment with alternative approaches. The attitudes of other staff were also important, with teachers not enrolled in the Bachelor of Education tending to lack interest in new ideas which teachers brought into the school as a result of their study for the Bachelor of Education.
A number of suggestions are made in the report about improving the efficacy of Bachelor of Education programs.
One way in which the efficacy of Bachelor of Education programs could be enhanced is by the provision of a broader range of subjects and more opportunities to specialise in particular areas to meet diverse needs which teachers seek to fulfil by enrolling in a Bachelor of Education degree. Suggestions for achieving these include:
- allowing students to include more units from Bachelor of Education degrees offered by other institutions
- making more use of units from graduate diploma programs
- making use of independent studies to allow students to study in-depth areas in which they have a special interest
- publicising the above possibilities to students when they enrol in the Bachelor of Education degree
- the co-operative development and offering of units by two or more colleges.
Reconciling Conflicting Demands on Teachers
A clear finding from the study was that teachers studying part-time have difficulty in balancing their teaching, family and study commitments. Problems in balancing all of their commitments was also the main reason given by students for withdrawing from the program, and the most frequent reason given by teachers for not enrolling at all was the lack of time to do further studies.
Suggestions which tertiary institutions might examine to lessen the pressures on teachers include:
Relief for teachers might also be provided by changes in employment conditions. For example, teacher could be given a reduced teaching load while studying for the Bachelor of Education, or study leave could be made more readily available to teachers.
- providing flexible assessment deadlines, so that peak workload at school and college do not coincide
- providing opportunities for full-time study towards the Bachelor of Education during the summer vacation
- offering a whole-year units
- allowing students to spread over a full year subjects normally taken in a single semester
- counselling of students about the workload involved in the program
- encouragement of students to take single units, especially in their first semester
- a liberal policy by institutions on late cancellation of a second unit without academic penalty.
The general orientation of participants in this study towards the Bachelor of Education degree was a positive one. In general, teachers reported that the Bachelor of Education had influenced their professional development and school administrators also considered the Bachelor of Education to generally be a positive influence on teachers and schools. The teaching and learning methods used by lecturers were seen by teachers, by and large, as being sensitive to their needs as part-time or external students. Even teachers who had withdrawn from the program, and teachers who had not enrolled gave as their main reason for withdrawing or not enrolling at all the pressure of other commitments, rather than, for example, the quality or relevance of Bachelor of Education programs.
Notwithstanding this generally optimistic view of the Bachelor of Education degree, the study did provide a number of suggestions for improving Bachelor of Education programs.
The study has resulted in the following reports:
Copies of the reports are available from:
- Interim Report: Results of Interviews (March 1986) (Very limited supply)
- Report of the evaluation (December 1986) (Limited supply)
- Summary report of the evaluation (February 1987)
Board of Teacher Education
P.O. Box 389
Toowong Q 4066
Phone: 870 7168
|Please cite as: QIER (1987). Research reports 3(1). Queensland Researcher, 3(1), 16-34. http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qr3/res-repts-3-1.html
[ Contents Vol 3, 1987 ] [ QJER Home ]
Created 21 Mar 2008. Last revision: 21 Mar 2008.