Australian Journal of Education (AUST J EDUC )

Description

The Australian Journal of Education was established in 1957 under the editorship of Professor Bill Connell. Drawing upon research conducted in Australia and internationally, the AJE aims to inform educational researchers as well as educators, administrators and policymakers about issues of contemporary concern in education. The AJE seeks to publish research studies that contribute to educational knowledge and research methodologies, and that review findings of research studies. Its scope embraces all fields of education and training. In addition to publishing research studies about education it also publishes articles that address education in relation to other fields. Articles submitted are subject to full peer review by a panel of experts including members of the Editorial Board of the AJE.

Publications in this journal

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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines changes in demographic and socioeconomic inequalities in student achievement over the school career, and the extent that these inequalities are accounted for by other influences such as, region and socioeconomic background (where appropriate), school differences and prior achievement. The data analysed are from a longitudinal cohort of Victorian government school students in Years 3, 5 and 7 between 2008 and 2012. The most important finding is the dominant influence of prior achievement which substantially reduces demographic and socioeconomic differences. The strong effects of prior achievement hold even after differences between schools and socioeconomic background have been taken into account. Therefore, policy positions and theories of student performance that give primacy to the socioeconomic resources of families when students are at school, or schools themselves, are not supported. The genesis of demographic and socioeconomic inequalities in student achievement occurs prior to Year 3 and point to the importance of factors operating in the preceding years.
    Australian Journal of Education 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The intent of this paper is to suggest the dimensions of intentional learning and identify the key benefits of systems modeling with regard to intentional learning through a review of related studies. The authors propose that intentional learning occurs when learners realize the need for refining their conceptual understanding, relate learning to their everyday experiences. possibly through everyday problem solving, and activates or develops metacognitive processes in the course of learning. When engaged in intentional learning, learner's epistemological beliefs are also challenged. The authors also discuss how systems modeling could potentially foster domain knowledge, systemic thinking, and conceptual change. The second section of this paper describes a technology-enhanced learning environment that fosters intentional learning.
    Australian Journal of Education 04/2014; 58(1).
  • Australian Journal of Education 02/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: This article investigates the phenomenon of university deferral and its impact on regional youth in Australia. It seeks to compare and contrast the post-school pathways and experiences of metropolitan and non-metropolitan deferrers over a period of three years following completion of school, with a view to establishing the unique characteristics of the barriers faced by non-metropolitan deferrers in Australia. Our research indicates that regional school completers are twice as likely to defer as school completers from the city. Three years out from school, a little over two-thirds of the regional deferrers in our study ended up at university. However, this still means that about one-third never took up their offer or dropped out soon after doing so. Financial stresses and travel-related factors seem to be the biggest barriers to taking up their place at university, particularly in the first year out of school.
    Australian Journal of Education 01/2014; 58(2):182–194.
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    ABSTRACT: Many studies of immigrant students in education focus on a single point in time. As a result, explanations of the performance of immigrant and minority students tend to be static, emphasising enduring socioeconomic,school or cultural factors. This article examines the dynamics of the differences in educational outcomes between immigrant and non-immigrant students in Australia over a five-year period from middle secondary school to university. It finds remarkable improvements in the outcomes of immigrant students. These changes are inconsistent with static explanations and point to the influence of educational factors during middle and upper secondary school. Further analyses show that educational factors such as more positive attitudes to students’ own achievement, academic press and strategic course selection mostly account for the higher level of performance of most immigrant student groups at the end of secondary school.
    Australian Journal of Education 10/2013; 53(2):133-154.
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    ABSTRACT: School-sector differences in student performance are often viewed as largely reflecting the intake characteristics of students and having little to do with differences in the provision of teaching and learning between school sectors. The contrary view is that school-sector differences show that non-government schools 'add value' to student performance through their delivery of the curriculum. This paper analyses tertiary performance (ENTER scores) among students who participated in the 2003 PISA study. It examines the extent to which school-sector differences are accounted for by students' socio-economic background, prior achievement, and various aspects of student learning. It concludes that sector gaps in students' tertiary entrance performance can be only partially attributed to socioeconomic background and there are moderate value-added effects for school sector when taking into account students' prior achievement. Although aspects of student learning had important effects on ENTER scores, they generally did not further account for school-sector differences. Further analyses suggest that nongovernment schools promote a more academic environment that lifts student performance. This finding has policy implications for all sectors.
    Australian Journal of Education 10/2013; 53(1):19-38.
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research has established that student outcomes are strongly associated with the socioeconomic composition of a school, also known as school socioeconomic status. Less is known, however, about the ways in which the relationship varies for different students, schools and national education systems. Here, we conduct a secondary analysis of an international dataset to examine the strength of the relationship between school socioeconomic status and achievement in math and reading for Canada and Australia. The history, economy and culture of these two countries are similar, as are many aspects of their education systems. One important difference, however, is the degree to which their education systems are marketised. Our findings show that in both countries, school socioeconomic status is strongly associated with academic achievement for all students, regardless of their individual socioeconomic status. Nevertheless, the relationship between school socioeconomic status and academic achievement is substantially stronger in Australia than in Canada. We conclude that student outcomes are more equitable in Canada than in Australia, and suggest that this may be due to differences in the ways in which the two education systems are funded and structured.
    Australian Journal of Education 08/2013; 57(2):124-140.
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    ABSTRACT: Schools have become increasingly aware of the prevalence, seriousness and negative impacts of bullying. Investigation into the direction and strength of the relationship between social health factors and bullying victimisation during early adolescence and the determination of a critical time to focus school-based bullying intervention programs is a high priority. Data were collected using a self-completion questionnaire four times over 3 years from 3459 students aged 11–14 years during the transition from primary to the end of the second year of secondary school. Results show the path coefficients for bullying victimisation to social heath factors were stronger at the beginning of secondary school than the reverse paths, with bullying victimisation associated with greater loneliness, less peer support, less connectedness to school and feeling less safe at school. Reciprocal relationships between bullying victimisation and social health were found during the first 2 years of secondary school. Consequently, the time prior to the transition to secondary school and within the first 2 years of secondary school appears to be a critical time to implement a whole-school bullying intervention program to reduce victimisation.
    Australian Journal of Education 08/2013; 57(2):107-123.
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines what it means to ‘hang out with mates’ and the effect that ‘hanging out’ has on boys’ academic success and behaviours. The research was conducted in three geographic and socio-economic diverse secondary schools within New Zealand using 200 boys aged between 12 and 18 years both as participants and researchers. The research participants claimed that ‘hanging out with mates’ was a crucial activity during adolescence and an important reason for going to school. Adolescent boys who developed close male friendships perceived a variety of benefits that strengthened and protected them from the many social and academic pressures that arise during adolescence. ‘Hanging out with mates’ was perceived to have positive effects on school retention and achievement as boys moved into the upper levels of schooling. Boys claimed their mates acted as a buffer between peer group and academic stressors; as well as offering a secure environment from which to develop concepts of self.
    Australian Journal of Education 08/2013; 57(2):141-156.
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    ABSTRACT: Australia’s neoliberal education agenda drives a competitive market climate where schools compete for potential clientele. In this climate, school impression management and self-promotion has become an important factor in maintaining a financially viable school. Schools produce image management texts including school prospectuses, newspapers advertisements, and school websites. Examining fifteen elite school websites from New South Wales Australia, this paper argues that the websites construct elite ideological discourses in order to position themselves as desirable within the neoliberal education context. The placement of promotional images and hyperlinks in salient places on the websites reveals the importance of self-promotion and the production of images of elitism in the marketised education climate. The school websites examined are found to have multiple animated and interactive functions that are used in the promotion of the schools as elite.
    Australian Journal of Education 08/2013; 57(2):174-184.
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    ABSTRACT: Australia has proven to be a popular destination for Indian students seeking higher education qualifications. In recent years, the influx of Indian students into Australia has shown considerable volatility and so has their enrollment mix between the further, vocational and higher education sectors. An understanding of the motivations and characteristics of potential and current Indian international students along with the changing dynamics of the global higher education sector is important to be able to analyse this volatility and to ensure effective and sustainable marketing of higher education to Indian students. This paper provides a profile of Indian students studying in Australia and provides insight into their course preferences and motivations for choosing Australia. A key finding of this paper is that apart from traditional motivators such as higher rates of returns and employability associated with a foreign qualification, Indian students are very responsive to changes in Australia’s labour market, immigration and student visa policies relative to other international alternatives.
    Australian Journal of Education 08/2013; 57(2):157-173.
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    ABSTRACT: There has been a major and growing international focus on improving the quality of teaching for decades. In Australia, there have been numerous key national initiatives introduced since 2007 with the aim of improving school, teacher and student performance. These include national testing and reporting of student achievement, national professional standards for teachers, a national curriculum, national accreditation of teacher education courses and a national framework for teacher development and performance. However, there are growing concerns over Australia's performance on international measures of student achievement and growing criticism of teacher education, teachers and schools from various sectors. Educators themselves, however, have largely been silent. Various simplistic solutions to the perceived problem of teacher quality have been promulgated, yet these have not been successful elsewhere. The paper calls for educators to find their voices in this current debate and to argue from a position of evidence to counter the misinformed and misguided views that currently predominate and influence government policy.
    Australian Journal of Education 08/2013; 57(2):91-106.
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    ABSTRACT: Under the auspices of its ‘Education Revolution’, the Federal Labor Government is currently implementing a national curriculum for schools. Representing an important intervention into educational practice and governance, the Australian Curriculum offers a unique research opportunity, providing substantial scope for the examination of the changing systems and school-level practices entailed in large-scale curriculum reform. Research into the Australian Curriculum also presents a valuable opportunity to develop educational research methodologies that attend to the complex and multifaceted processes of curriculum reform, from systems to classrooms. Taking two of the disciplinary towers of modern curricula (English and mathematics) and Australia’s two largest jurisdictions (New South Wales and Victoria) as the focus, this article draws on a three-year Australian Research Council Linkage Project to outline an approach to researching major curriculum reform.
    Australian Journal of Education 04/2013; 57(1):60-73.
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    ABSTRACT: The demands placed upon employees in their roles have long been thought to be important in predicting employee well-being and in reducing the risk of anxiety and depression, increasing cardiovascular functioning and reducing employee burnout. The present study sought to examine the job demands of rural, regional and remote educational leaders. Demand ratings were generally lower for regional areas than rural areas and lower for rural areas than remote areas. Higher qualifications and experience were associated with lower demand ratings. Participants in desired areas rated themselves under lower demand than participants in undesired areas and participants who were undecided about the desirability of their locations. These findings have important implications for the selection, preparation and support of leaders in non-metropolitan contexts.
    Australian Journal of Education 04/2013; 57(1):19-31.
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    ABSTRACT: Currently, Australian boarding schools undertake to provide a home away from home for around 20,000 adolescents. Research documenting the boarding school experience is scarce, and, with few exceptions, exists as a less significant aspect of more general research into private school education. Such school-based research focuses on the positive, character-building benefits of the boarding experience. However, case studies of former boarders paint quite a different picture. In order for boarding schools to best support boarders’ development, it is vital that adults who fulfil a parenting role undertake appropriate training. This paper draws together available information to present a comprehensive picture of boarding in Australian schools, with a focus on the challenges faced by the in loco parentis role of staff. It is apparent that more skills-based training is vital to better equip staff in this very important role.
    Australian Journal of Education 04/2013; 57(1):32-47.
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    ABSTRACT: School choice in China is characterized by the payment of substantial amounts of additional (“choice”) fees by parents to the preferred school, and by the use of cultural, social and economic capital to obtain places in oversubscribed schools. This study examines the role of social capital in current parent-initiated school choice in China. It finds that it is common for parents to mobilize their social capital in the form of guanxi to acquire insider information, to facilitate or gain exceptional entry into the preferred school and to reduce or waive the choice fee. The paper also addresses the issue of educational inequality caused by such practice in the school choice process.
    Australian Journal of Education 04/2013; 57(1):48-59.

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