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The purpose of this section is to summarise information from recently completed research and evaluation studies in Queensland.

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, PO Box 33, North Quay Q 4002.

Title:A Review of the 1-10 Mathematics Inservice Project: An Interim Report of an Innovation in Teacher Inservice Education
Authors:Neil Cranston, John Dungan, Christine Grieve
Institution:Research Services, Division of Curriculum Services, Department of Education, Queensland
Date:September 1989

The 1-10 Mathematics Inservice Project (MIP)

The 1-10 Mathematics Inservice Project (MIP), which commenced in late 1988, is an initiative of the Queensland Department of Education. The Years 1 to 10 Mathematics Syllabus, progressively introduced in all Queensland State schools since 1984, provided the major contextual input for the MIP. The aim of the MIP is to improve the classroom practices of a group of teachers of mathematics. Participants were withdrawn to a central location for two two-day workshops in late 1988 and a series of sixteen one-day workshops in 1989 to explore various issues relating to mathematics education. A Planning Group, consisting of mathematics consultants, organised the workshop sessions and visited participants in their schools between sessions. The inservice model underpinning the MIP is consistent with action-focused approaches to inservice activity, and demonstrates various characteristics of the coaching 'model' of Joyce and Showers.

As the MIP has developed, it is clear the Project endorses an approach to teaching and learning characterised by the following features:

Research and Evaluation Activity

The research and evaluation activities of the MIP were concerned with providing information for decision making regarding the Project during 1989 and beyond, as well as informing future similar initiatives. It aimed to identify essential elements of the in-service model employed, identify resulting short-term outcomes (in particular, in terms of classroom practices and other school outcomes) and determine those features of the Project which might be successfully adopted in future teacher inservice initiatives in Mathematics and other subject areas.

Information collection procedures employed in the evaluation included: interviews with participants, the Project planning group members and some students; the administration of questionnaires to participants; and observations and participation in selected workshop sessions. A review of the relevant literature was also conducted. As appropriate, the evaluation information was shared formatively with the Project Planning Group members to assist in the Project's ongoing development.

Some clear findings have emerged concerning the MIP inservice model. The initial workshops, led by a noted mathematics educator from England, provided a critical initial impetus to the Project. The regular and ongoing nature of the fortnightly workshop sessions enabled participants to try ideas in their classrooms and reflect on their experiences at subsequent sessions. These sessions allowed participants to mix regularly with their peers, as well as discuss and explore various issues relating to mathematics education. Participants also engaged in mathematics activities, planned units of work and reviewed mathematics resources during these sessions. The school visits by the Planning Group members between sessions to support participants in their classroom practices were generally useful in the early stages of the MIP. These visits helped to stimulate and maintain the commitment of participants to the Project and provide necessary encouragement and affirmation. In some instances the importance of these visits became less critical over time, with some participants engaging in peer-coaching activities in their own schools. The involvement of Planning Group members and participants in planning and attending the workshop sessions and the school visits between sessions contribute to the resource intensive nature of the Project.

Early Project outcomes for participants have varied considerably. For some participants, the Project has resulted mainly in the use of open investigations (one of the six teaching approaches of the Years 1 to 10 Mathematics Syllabus). However, for others it has resulted in the alteration of their basic philosophy concerning teaching and learning leading to significant changes in classroom practices. While the majority of participants have responded positively to the opportunity to be involved in the Project, the longer-term impact in terms of lasting classroom practices needs to be treated with cautious optimism.

Preliminary student outcomes identified by some participants include improved understanding and enjoyment of mathematics. Broader Project outcomes include a heightened awareness of the Years 1 to 10 Mathematics Syllabus among participants and enhanced consultancy skills among Planning Group members.

There are several emerging issues for consideration in the future development of the MIP and for other inservice education programs. These include the importance of:

Further Information

Copies of a full report of the MIP entitled, 'A Review of the 1-10 Mathematics Inservice Project: An Interim Report on an Innovation in Teacher Inservice Education', are available from the authors, Research Services, Division of Curriculum Services, Department of Education, PO Box 33, North Quay Q 4002, telephone: (07) 237 0968.

Title:Evaluation of Three New Senior Secondary Subjects - Small Business Studies, Australian Social Investigations, Tourism
Institution:Research Services, Division of Curriculum Services, Department of Education, Queensland

Note: The developmental and evaluation processes for each of these three subjects were similar. Details are provided in the discussion of Small Business Studies with the discussion for Australian Social Investigations and Tourism focusing on the respective evaluation findings.



Small Business Studies is a new subject for Years 11 and 12 students in Queensland secondary schools. It aims to prepare students to be part of the future developments of small business at either an employer or employee level. The course of study aims to develop a wide range of career-related, interpersonal skills and knowledge appropriate to small business. The subject emphasises direct student involvement in small business ventures and work experience.

Small Business Studies is one of a series of syllabuses being developed by the Queensland Department of Education in a collaborative process which calls on the expertise of officers in the Division of Curriculum Services, the input of people from a wide range of groups within Queensland society, the experience and insights of teachers who test the materials in classrooms, and the support of personnel in regional offices of education. The development of Small Business Studies extended over the period from 1986 to 1988, with trialling conducted in 1987 and 1988.

Curriculum Development

The development of new subjects for Years 11 and 12 is part of a major initiative of the Queensland Department of Education aimed at broadening the curriculum in the post-compulsory years of secondary education.

The project to develop Departmental syllabuses aims to build upon the experience of secondary schools with school subjects and to produce syllabuses which would be suitable to a wide range of student interests, abilities and future needs. The new Departmental subjects are intended to be widely recognised, understood and accepted as having valid outcomes by educational or training authorities, employers and the community in general.

In broad terms, the developmental process for a Departmental syllabus has three essential elements. A curriculum team of officers from Curriculum Services is responsible for the development of all materials. Where possible, officers are appointed directly from the classroom for the writing tasks. Reference groups are convened at various stages of the process to provide input and reaction from a variety of suitable people inside and outside the Department. Selected schools trial the materials and provide feedback for further refinement and revision.

Development of the syllabus and associated materials continues throughout the trial, drawing on trial teachers' critical appraisal of the draft documents and their experiences teaching the subject. Feedback is sought from students, parents, school principals and other members of the school communities.

The Evaluation Process

The aim of the evaluation was to describe Small Business Studies, monitor the process of its development, assess the validity and feasibility of the new subject, and provide information to guide personnel in regions and schools wishing to introduce the subject into the curriculum. The final evaluation report describes the evaluation activities and outcomes in detail.

From the beginning of the development of Small Business Studies, evaluators maintained contact with the syllabus writers, attended reference group meetings and assisted in the process of identifying issues raised and responding appropriately to them. Support was also provided to the trial teachers' seminars. Communication links with trial teachers and administrative personnel in trial schools and regional offices were established and maintained. Throughout the trial, mail, telephone, questionnaires and personal visits were used to elicit information from the trial teachers.

During visits to trial schools, interviews were held with school administrators, trial teachers and students. Classes were observed and students' work was perused.

The final report of the evaluation focuses on the validity and feasibility of the new subject, and practical aspects of its introduction into schools. Various parts of the report will be useful to those involved in the administration of secondary education, administrative personnel in schools, teachers and teacher groups, personnel in educational or training institutions receiving students from secondary schools, potential employers of Small Business Studies students, parents of secondary students, guidance officers and teacher educators.

Summary of Findings

Teaching Approaches and Outcomes
Trial teachers were found to have used a range of teaching approaches to implement Small Business Studies aimed at giving students practical first-hand experience of small business.

All of the trial teachers reported that their students had been directly involved in operating small business ventures and had some level of interaction with the business community, through visiting guest speakers, excursions to a range of businesses and work experience. In some cases, the trial teacher organised the excursion; in others, the students made the arrangements. This trend to encourage students to act in an organised and business-like manner continued and developed throughout the trial in most of the schools.

Students reported gaining much more than knowledge of small business from the subject and believed their interpersonal skills had considerably improved as a result of work done in Small Business Studies.

Teachers were asked to identify the specific business skills students had acquired. All reported that the operation of ventures had enabled students to relate the five topics of small business - overview, management, records, research and review - to real-life situations. Trial teachers used strategies that they believed would enable students to gain the most practical experience of small business that was possible in given situations. These teachers encouraged the students to work as a team and to make their own decisions. They believed this approach had developed the management potential and skills of many students.

The professional and personal development of some of the trial teachers was an extra benefit from the trial. Some of the teachers coming into the trial without a broad business background reported gaining considerable confidence, real business knowledge and experience of the small business world as well as a greater understanding of students. They accepted that they did not have to 'know it all' and could learn along with their students.

Parents who were interviewed were happy that their children were learning skills that could assist with later employment prospects. Students' involvement in ventures and contacts with local businesses were often discussed at home.

Assessment of the validity of Small Business Studies was based on five considerations:

Assessment of the feasibility of Small Business Studies was based on four considerations:


The evaluation has indicated that the Small Business Studies Syllabus is a valid, feasible subject for senior secondary schools. The syllabus allows adaptation to suit a range of student, school and community needs.

Evidence supports the finding that Small Business Studies can make a valuable contribution to a broad senior secondary education, particularly in view of the demand for wider subject options and support associated with rising retention rates. The subject has gained assistance from the Commerce Teachers Association of Queensland, the Kelvin Grove Campus of the Brisbane College of Advanced Education and the Small Business Development Corporation. This support, together with the observed enthusiasm of teachers, students and small business people, seems likely to ensure a continued expansion of enrolments.



Australian Social Investigations (ASI) is a new subject for Years 11 and 12 students in Queensland secondary schools. It aims to involve students actively in identifying and exploring social issues and to extend their understanding of the complexity of society and the positive roles they can perform within it. By analysing the issues involved, students are expected to develop the processes and skills of recognition, investigation, decision making, informed participation and reflection.

Summary of Findings

Learning Activities
Trial teachers were found to have used a range of student-centred, activity-based teaching approaches to implement ASI, including small group work, individually negotiated topics and assessment, and highly structured, closely guided work programs for students lacking in confidence. The main teaching approach for ASI can be summarised as learning, by direct involvement in real-life experiences or simulated activities, how to use the new knowledge and skills gained to meet the future needs of the individual as a member of society. Teachers and students reported working through a rich variety of topics, for example, aspects of government, law, consumerism, world issues and other cultures.

Many students felt they had developed tolerance, confidence and consideration for different viewpoints from their ASI studies. Some mentioned their increased maturity and sense of responsibility. Group work was considered partly responsible for a growing sense of social consciousness and mutual respect. Students also stated that they had increased their awareness of and involvement in world issues and felt more relaxed, resourceful and positive about coping with life as adults in society. Skills of problem solving, interviewing, public relations and public speaking were among those developed in ASI.

Assessment of the validity of ASI was based on five considerations:

Assessment of feasibility was based on four considerations:


During the development of Australian Social Investigations, information was gathered about outcomes, validity and feasibility for students in Years 11 and 12. The evaluation has indicated that the ASI Syllabus and Guidelines documents have the flexibility to serve as the basis of a social science course that can be adapted to suit a range of student, school and community needs.

Evidence supports the finding that ASI can make a valid contribution to a broad senior secondary education, particularly in view of the increased demand for a variety of subject options that has resulted from rising retention rates. In the light of current developments in senior secondary schooling, for example the possible changes to the Tertiary Entrance system, ASI could well prove to be one of those desirable options which, if offered with effective support, will experience rapid growth in enrolments in the near future.



Tourism is a new subject for Years 11 and 12 students in Queensland secondary schools. It is intended to assist students to develop an understanding of tourism and the tourist industry, including: how the industry operates; its changing nature and value to society; its impact on and relation to environments, economies, cultures and societies. Tourism provides opportunities for students to carry out investigations of the industry at local, regional, national and global levels.

Summary of Findings

Learning Activities
The trial teachers were found to have ensured that the learning process was based on students' first hand experience. As far as possible, experience in the tourism industry was gained in tasks that had a value beyond the learning they provided and ensured that all students had some direct experience of tourism-in-action through various types of activities.

The major teaching approaches recommended in the syllabus are case studies, practical exercises, the development of vocational skills and 'tourism' skills, community work and student ventures. Within these categories a range of activities occurred in the trial schools. For example, classes planned vacations, used tourism data bases, and prepared guides for tourists to their local area.

A wide range of outcomes were reported by the trial teachers and students. At the end of the trial most of the students interviewed reported developing an awareness of the diversity of businesses involved in the tourism industry. They recognised changes to their own attitudes to tourism and appreciated the breadth of information they had obtained about the industry.

The trial teachers reported that students had developed sound decision-making abilities and a sense of personal worth. In all of the trial schools students reported they had learned valuable interpersonal skills and developed the ability to relate effectively to adults and to their peers. They also considered that they were developing the ability to work productively in groups and to achieve their goals. Most of the trial teachers actively encouraged student decision-making and responsibility and the majority of students interviewed or surveyed reported that they had learned to be 'more self confident' during the trial. For example, most of the students now felt able to speak confidently with groups of people.

The establishment of sound school/community links occurred through student contact by telephone, letter or visits to local businesses. In some schools, arrangements for all guest speakers were made by the students. These students also gave presentations on open days and to parent evenings and consequently learned the skills of public speaking and the effective marketing of their ideas.

Parents interviewed during the trial noted both the relevance of the subject for students aiming for careers in the tourism industry and the confidence that students developed during the trial. They reported that Tourism students currently with part-time employment were already benefiting from the skills they had acquired.

The trial teachers considered that students had developed a wide range of knowledge on tourism at local, national and global levels including the economic and social benefits the industry offers, its impact and consequences and possible future directions. They reported that the subject provided students with the opportunity for considerable personal growth and commented on the levels of confidence many students had acquired.

Assessment of the validity of Tourism was based on five considerations:

Assessment of feasibility was based on four considerations:


During the development of Tourism, information was gathered about outcomes, validity and feasibility for students in Years 11 and 12. The evaluation has indicated that Tourism can make a valid contribution to a broad senior secondary education, particularly in view of the increased demand for a variety of subject options that has resulted from rising retention rates and changing demands.

The positive response by teachers, students and the community to the subject are expected to lead to a continued expansion of student enrolments. Tourism would seem likely to become well established in the senior curriculum, especially in areas where the tourist industry is prominent.

The Final Evaluation Reports for each subject is available from:

Assistant Director
Research Services
Division of Curriculum Services
Department of Education
PO Box 33
North Quay Q 4002
Please cite as: QIER (1989). Research reports 5(3). Queensland Researcher, 5(3), 23-40. http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qr5/research-repts5-3.html

Contents Vol 5, 1989 ] [ QJER Home ]
Created 25 Jul 2007. Last revision: 25 Jul 2007.
URL: http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qr5/research-repts5-3.html