We investigated whether the sexes differ in science performance before they make important course and career selections. We collected teacher-report data from a sample of children from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) assessed at ages 9, 10 and 12 years (N>2500 pairs). In addition we developed a test of scientific enquiry and administered it to a sub-sample of TEDS (n=1135; age=14 years). We found no evidence for mean sex differences in science performance assessed by teachers, or by a test of scientific enquiry, although boys were somewhat more variable. At a time when adolescents are making important course choices, girls are performing just as well as boys.
Most of the old Australian circuses were built on a family tradition in which circus skills were developed, shared, and passed from generation to generation. Children brought up in circus families had to concentrate upon the development of their performing skills, often to the exclusion or detriment of a formal education. Based on extensive interviews with elderly Australian circus people, this chapter explores educational practices in Australian circuses between 1847 and 1930.
At the beginning of the 20th Century Belgium was said to be a center of the so-called paedological research. Since 1899 Medard Schuyten directed the internationally well known paedological laboratory in Antwerp; in 1912, Josefa Ioteyko founded in Brussels, as an outcome of the first world congress for paedology in Brussels in 1911, the “International Faculty of Paedology”. Mainly on the basis of these Belgian sources, this chapter demonstrates how much the human sciences at the time were captivated by natural scientific thought and scientific optimism.
In reporting on one aspect of a national center's research on teacher education, this chapter examines two U.S. programs in which experienced teachers are expected to play major roles in the induction and socialization of beginning teachers. By exploring connections between what experienced teachers in the two projects do and the organizational and intellectual contexts within which they work, this analysis demonstrates that the contextual conditions of mentoring can lead to striking differences in the definition and enactment of mentoring roles. The final section then relates this comparative study to broader claims about the power of mentoring to improve teaching.
In recent years, there has been a good deal of media and academic interest in the ways in which Japanese history textbooks represent Japan's wartime past. However, the discussion has tended to revolve primarily around a number of symbolic textbook issues, such as government censorship of the term ‘aggression,’ without much consideration of divisions and conflict within the state and the ruling bloc itself. Consequently, no real analysis has emerged concerning the ways in which right-wing nationalist elements have exploited the textbook issue with the aim of reinforcing their political and cultural dominance over contemporary Japan.This article presents the Japanese history textbook controversy as an ongoing cultural and political struggle. It attempts to understand the process of the textbook struggle historically, and the relations between political parties and actors, the state bureaucracy, and right-wing nationalists. In particular, the study examines the ways in which the power of right-wing nationalism has been appropriated and negotiated by the leaders and members of the Liberal Democratic Party and bureaucrats in the Ministry of Education. It also looks at the ways in which such power has been resisted by textbook authors, educators, and certain segments of public opinion.
There is a growing body of research indicating that students who can self-regulate cognitive, motivational, and behavioral aspects of their academic functioning are more effective as learners. We studied relations between the self-regulation strategies used by a group of Italian students during the final years of high school and their subsequent academic achievement and resilience in pursuing higher education. We used the self-regulated learning interview schedule, which focuses on cognitive, motivational, and behavioral strategies used during academic learning in both classroom and non-classroom contexts. The cognitive self-regulation strategy of organizing and transforming proved to be a significant predictor of the students’ course grades in Italian, mathematics, and technical subjects in high school and in their subsequent average course grades and examinations passed at the university. The motivational self-regulation strategy of self-consequences was a significant predictor of the students’ high school diploma grades and their intention to continue with their education after high school.
This chapter analyzes the teacher education reform in Taiwan since 1994. A case study of three elementary teacher education programs at two different institutions was conducted to examine the implementation of reforms. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the potential impact of these recent changes on the preparation of mathematics teaching at elementary school level.
Evidence regarding the effect of early reading instruction on later reading achievement is unusually sparse, given the emphasis often placed on early and intensive reading instruction. Capitalising on international differences in school entry age (SEA), international reading studies may provide such evidence; however, only one quantitative analysis has been conducted that looked at nine-year olds over 17 years ago. Therefore, data from the reading portion of the 2006 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study were re-analysed. The relative reading achievement—as a function of SEA—of 15-year-old students across 55 countries was investigated, controlling for social and economic differences. Results suggested no significant association between reading achievement and SEA. Theoretical explanations for these findings are discussed.
A general framework is presented to help understand the relationship between motivation and self-regulated learning. According to the framework, self-regulated learning can be facilitated by the adoption of mastery and relative ability goals and hindered by the adoption of extrinsic goals. In addition, positive self-efficacy and task value beliefs can promote self-regulated behavior. Self-regulated learning is defined as the strategies that students use to regulate their cognition (i.e., use of various cognitive and metacognitive strategies) as well as the use of resource management strategies that students use to control their learning.
The goal of this study was to investigate the relation between a set of pre-decisional beliefs including students’ task value, self-efficacy, and learning and performance goal orientations and five post-decisional, implementation strategies students use to regulate their effort and persistence for the academic tasks assigned for a specific class. A group of eighth grade students (N=114) completed a self-report survey that assessed these four motivational beliefs and the frequency that they used five motivational regulation strategies including self-consequating, environmental control, interest enhancement, and mastery and performance self-talk. Results from a series of multiple regressions indicated that the motivational beliefs, as a group, could be used to explain students’ reported use of each of the regulatory strategies examined. Further, results indicated that task value, learning goal orientation, and performance goal orientation individually explained three or more of the regulatory strategies, whereas self-efficacy was not related significantly to any of the five regulatory strategies studied. Findings are presented and interpreted in light of their significance for models specifying both motivational and volitional aspects of self-regulation.
This chapter is a synthesis of findings from five research studies linking school learning environment and organizational characteristics to multiple indices of school effectiveness. Descriptions of a variety of new measures of school level environment characteristics are included and implications of the findings for research and theory development in the future study of school learning environments, schools as organizations and school effectiveness are discussed.
In November 1989, there was a meeting of people who had been involved in helping to bring about fundamental restructuring in public schools. This chapter reports on one person's view of the results of that “Asilomar Conference.” It describes 15 activities that appear to enhance the success of systemic restructuring, but more importantly it describes principles or guidelines that appear to enhance the success of each activity. Hopefully, this tentative process model will contribute to building a knowledge base that will help practitioners and other stakeholders to attain a quantum improvement in the quality of their educational systems.
A high rate of absence of teachers from their posts is a serious obstacle to delivery of education in many developing countries, but hard evidence on the problem has been scarce. This study, carried out as part of a new multi-country survey project, is the first systematic investigation in Peru into the extent and causes of teachers’ absence from schools. Data from our nationally representative survey of public primary schools, based on unannounced visits and direct observation of teachers, reveals that public school teachers in Peru are absent from their posts 11 percent of the time. While this overall absence rate is low compared with those of other survey countries, the absence rates in Peru's poorest and remotest communities are much higher—16 and 21 percent, respectively. In our multivariate analysis of the causes of public school teacher absence, we identify several important variables that are associated with increased absence: poor working conditions, such as poorer communities and infrastructure; teachers with fewer ties to the school's community; contract teaching; and, perhaps, an absence of private competition. By contrast, proxies for more vigorous top-down and bottom-up monitoring are not associated with lower absence. These results, together with the relatively high overall public school teacher attendance rates in an environment where financial incentives for performance are weak, suggest that non-pecuniary incentives are important determinants of teacher performance.
Mathematical constructs have a dual role because they can be used as instruments to model real world situations and events, but they can also become an object of reasoning. Mathematics is a particularly abstract domain because the affordances and constraints underlying the use of mathematical constructs may be different from the affordances and constraints in real-world situations. We argue that this makes the acquisition of quantitative schemata a difficult task but also accounts for the potential to extend our understanding of the world by mathematical means. We refer to developmental, educational, and experimental studies supporting the view that new understandings and powerful ways of reasoning become possible on the basis of culturally mediated mathematical constructs.
Conceptual coordination is a learning process that relates multiple perceptual-motor modalities (verbal, visual, gestural, etc.) in time. Lower-order categorizations are thus related by sequence and simultaneity, as shown by neurological dysfunctions. Heretofore, many theories of abstraction have only considered verbal behavior and assumed that the neural mechanism itself consists of manipulation of descriptions (linguistic models of the world and behavior). This broader view better relates physical and intellectual skills.
It is argued that abstract cognitive processes entail the processing of relations, which differ from more primitive cognitive processes in being more accessible, more flexible, and less content-specific. A relation is a binding between a relation-symbol or predicate, and one or more arguments. Each argument corresponds to a slot which can be filled in a number of ways, so the relation is independent of specific arguments. The binding of arguments to a relation-symbol means that the relation can be an argument to other relations, and is therefore accessible to other cognitive processes based on relations. It can be shown that the building blocks of cognitive processes, such as propositions, and trees can be expressed as relations. Each argument constitutes a dimension in the space represented by the relation, and the number of arguments provides a metric for conceptual complexity. Neural net modelling shows why relational representations impose a processing load which is a function of the number of dimensions.
The relation between generality and specificity in cognition is poorly understood. The history of science and mathematics shows that generality is not achieved by extracting similarities from particulars. To make a fresh start, we propose that objects and events are seen as similar to the extent that they fit the same abstraction and that abstractions are constructed by assembling available ideas into new structures. The function of abstraction is not to provide generality but to facilitate the assembly process and to provide a different categorization of the world than the one suggested by perceptual similarities. This view is exemplified with respect to central ideas in science, mathematics and other disciplines.
Increasing awareness of child abuse and neglect (CAN) raises questions about how well teachers are prepared for their role in child protection. This paper assesses and differentiates training needs of first-year students (n = 216) in Northern Ireland. Multiple-choice tests were used to assess knowledge of CAN statistics; recognising and reporting; policies, procedures, and legislative frameworks; and direct work with children. Considerable gaps in knowledge were found. Results between student groups varied and provide evidence of the need to develop pre-service child protection training. The importance of differentiation between student groups in terms of training content is emphasised.
Research and practice have tended to focus on the “entrance and exit” years in schools. Transfer (that is, the move from one stage of schooling and from one school to another) has received more attention than transition (that is, the move from one year to another within the same school). Transition emerges from interviews with students as a neglected but important experience, reflecting the difficulties some students have in sustaining their commitment to learning and in understanding continuities in learning. Similarly, the relationship between friendships and student progress is given attention at transfer but tends thereafter to have a low profile. Interviews with students suggest that there is much that we can usefully learn by listening to students talk about the link between friendship and academic performance.
This chapter describes recent changes made in the selection of university students in Estonia. The chapter also includes a description of two research studies that examine the procedures used by the faculty of two major psychology departments in Estonia (the University of Tartu and Tallinn Pedagogical University) to select students. The procedures involve some combination of general knowledge tests, group tasks, and personal interviews. The results suggest that data obtained from group tasks and personal interviews are more highly predictive of GPA than that obtained from the general knowledge tests. Furthermore, the predictive validity of the general knowledge tests depends on the academic program the student intends to enter.
Academic literacies research has significantly informed educational practice across a range of disciplines. But this influence has largely been through a focus on genres of written language. The growth of new information and communication technologies demands a broader view of academic literacy and how it now informs situations of learning. This challenge is discussed in relation to a number of characteristics associated with computer-based communications, including representational diversity, non-linearity and new conceptions of authorship and responsibility. It is argued that educational practice must recognise new demands on reading these new forms as well as new divides and disillusionments associated with them. However, there are also new opportunities to be seized for learner participation in the creative process. Finally, examples are recruited to argue for research in this area that is both more ecological and more developmental in orientation.
This paper adopts an academic literacies perspective to argue for a critical approach to the writing practices of the online university classroom. It describes an on-going action research project in an online Masters in Online and Distance Education (MAODE) programme at the UK Open University, which aims to create an online writing resource to support distance learners in developing a critical awareness of the writing practices on the programme. The paper presents the results of an evaluation study of this resource during the 2005 presentation of the MAODE, and discusses the evidence from this study that such a resource can provide a space for students to critique the dominant literacies of the online university.
There are no provisions for routine evaluations or rankings of the universities in the Federal Republic of Germany. Consequently, it has become a matter of magazines to carry out inquiries into the opinions of students and faculty members in order to assess the quality of education at German universities. One of the first studies of this type was carried out by one of Germany's most respected magazines, Der Spiegel. The results of this study, particularly the questionnaires and validity of the given response categories, were subject to vehement criticism. In this context the exploratory study described in this chapter was conceived. Students and faculty were asked to give their personal and individual views about the academic system at their given universities. In order to guarantee the subjectivity of each individual's frame of reference, the responses of students and faculty were recorded, analyzed, and compared by means of computer-assisted content analysis. The results will be used to validate quantitative instruments of inquiry and to formulate proposals for their improvement.
The two-fold purpose of this article is: (a) to review Australian trends concerning retention rates to the final year of high school, transition rates to higher education, and the phenomena underlying these rates including the impact of political intervention; and (b) to outline a pilot study conducted to identify and describe the dynamics of the decision process stages (DPS) through which high school students proceed in choosing to undertake university study and conjoint levels of (un)certainty. Factors underlying a current perception of crisis within Australian higher education are identified. Complex patterns of predictive associations among six general categories of predictors and the DPS, which operate differently during the various years of high school, are also examined. The relationship between the two is established with some suggestions for policy.
This chapter summarises the background, methodology and the findings of a three-phase policy research project commissioned by the Department of Education and the Arts, Tasmania.1 Since detailed findings and practical implications are presented elsewhere (Macpherson & Taplin, 1995; Macpherson, 1996a, b, c), this chapter develops recommendations and discusses the extent to which this example of cooperative policy research supports the non-foundational, pragmatist and naturalised account of the growth of knowledge proposed by Evers and Lakomski (1991). It concludes that the problem of accountability in education could relate to the quality of policy research used in systems and institutions.