Postgraduate Awards 2002

Dr Catherine Dunworth

Tertiary entry level English language proficiency: A case study

PhD thesis, Curtin University

Catherine DunworthPresentation Abstract

This session reports on a study conducted into tertiary level English proficiency among students for whom English is not the first language. It was initiated as a result of the appearance of a number of articles in the academic press which intimated that the English language levels of many overseas students studying in Australia were not sufficiently developed to meet the demands of their academic programs. The study sought to determine how the construct of tertiary language proficiency is interpreted by university academics, and to develop a description of a ‘gatekeeper’ level of English competence. The results of this single site case study revealed that there was little consensus among academic staff, philosophicall y or pedagogically, and that there was no overarching strategy for determining appropriate entry levels. Recommendations from this study included a plan for an institutional level framework in which it might be possible to make judgements about the desired levels of language proficiency and improve on existing procedures for their evaluation.

Angela McCarthy

Choosing Catholic secondary education in Western Australia: A grounded theory study

MEd thesis, The University of Notre Dame

Angela McCarthyPresentation Abstract

This paper is the result of an historical investigation into education in Australia as a background for a thesis on choice of schooling. It offers an overview of education in Australia since the beginnings of European settlement in the 18th century. Special emphasis is placed on education in Western Australia. Each of the Australian colonies established their own educational systems and until the present time they remain responsible for this matter. Throughout this time there have been alternatives to government education through an independent system that has provided a level of choice not widely available in other countries. This paper seeks to explore the reasons for such a provision and the resultant culture of choice that exists in Australian society. Such background was required by the thesis because a difference of attitude among parents born overseas needed to be placed contextually within the grounded theory study.

Dr Rick Kellner

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disordered children’s social self-perceptions of their peer-related personal and interpersonal problems

PhD thesis The University of Western Australia

Presentation Abstract

Rick KellnerThis paper investigates the peer-related interpersonal problems and socioemotional functioning of psychosocially at-risk (n = 172) and not at-risk children (n = 119). The self-reported peer-related experiences of 291 children (Grades 3 – 12; 185 males, 106 females), aged from 96.92 months to 213.93 months enrolled in Western Australian metropolitan government/ non-government primary and secondary high schools, were examined. Subsequent to informed consent, all were assessed with an Interpersonal Relationships Questionnaire comprised of six reliable and valid paper-and-pencil measures: Social Desirability, Interpersonal Difficulties (HSociable), Social Self-Concept, Social Self-Confidence (SSCfd), Preference for Solitude (PS), and Social Interaction Anxiety (SIA).

Pearson product-moment correlations, Chi-square, univariate and multivariate analyses of variance were used to examine the data. Moreover, two hierarchial multiple regressions were performed to independently examine the unique contributions of peer-relational (i.e., H.Sociable, PS) and peer-competence factors (i.e., SSCfd, SIA) in predicting levels of Social Self-Concept (i.e., feelings of peer acceptance and being ignored) by Risk Level and Gender. Neither Gender, Age, nor Social Desirability were significantly associated with children’s self-reports. Pearson correlations showed that measures of interpersonal relationships and socioemotional functioning were highly correlated. Analyses of variance revealed significant main effects for Risk Level and Gender. Hierarchial regression showed that peer-relational variables were differentially associated with Gender in predicting levels of Social Self-Concept. Furthermore, there were three-way interactions between Risk Level, Gender for each of the following variables: Preference for Solitude, Social Self-Confidence, Social Interaction Anxiety.

Psychoeducational and clinical implications for understanding the functional and discriminant significance of social impairment among at-risk and not at-risk children are discussed. Appropriate recommendations for the practice and effective delivery of individualized interventionist school programmes for targeted individuals experiencing problematic peer relations are also addressed in light of the research findings.

Glenda Boyd Dr Glenda Boyd

Early childhood teachers perceptions of their leadership roles

PhD thesis, Edith Cowan University

Christopher HarlowDr Christopher Harlow

Reader response theory and ethical possibilities: An investigation into student readers’ moral judgements and their interpretations of a short literary text

PhD thesis, Murdoch University