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Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Forum 1996

    Abstracts for presentations given at the WAIER Forum held on 31 August 1996. The original collection was edited by Martyn Wild, Department of Multimedia Learning Technologies, Edith Cowan University.
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Presentations

Interpersonal teacher behaviour in the primary school
Jill M. Aldridge & Barry J. Fraser
Curtin University of Technology
ifraserb@info.curtin.edu.au, ealdridge@cc.curtin.edu.au

Motivation in post-compulsory secondary students - a longitudinal study
Susan Beltman
Murdoch University
beltman@central.murdoch.edu.au

Higher order learning across the curriculum: the WA context
Catherine McLoughlin
Edith Cowan University
c.mcloughlin@cowan.edu.au

An empirical investigation on the effectiveness of teaching subject content and learning strategies at university
Denise Chalmers, Richard Fuller & Andrew Guilfoyle
Edith Cowan University
d.chalmers@cowan.edu.au, r.fuller@cowan.edu.au

ADD and ADHD: The prevalence of these conditions and its management in a Western Australian educational context
P. G. Cole
Edith Cowan University
p.cole@cowan.edu.au

Portfolio assessment in higher education
Trudi Cooper
Edith Cowan University
t.cooper@cowan.edu.au

Developing software for analysis of video tape as data
Tony Fetherston and Ken Knibb
Edith Cowan University
t.fetherston@cowan.edu.au

Development of personal and class forms of a classroom environment questionnaire
Barry Fraser, Campbell McRobbie and Darrell Fisher
Curtin University of Technology

A model of the factors contributing to school retention for Aboriginal secondary students
Gary Partington
Edith Cowan University
G.Partington@cowan.edu.au

Writing child welfare history: An historiographical jigsaw?
Rosemary Kerr
Curtin University
pkerrrb@cc.curtin.edu.au

EdStats: A statistical package for beginning researchers
Ken Knibb
Edith Cowan University
k.knibb@cowan.edu.au

Perceptions of lower secondary design and technology teachers about the utilisation of the design process
Désiré Mallet
Edith Cowan University
d.mallet@cowan.edu.au

A strategy for curriculum dissemination
Clare McBeath
Curtin University of Technology
McBeathC@educ.curtin.edu.au

What is good for the goose.... Different truth games within upper school science classrooms
Carolyn Montgomery
Curtin University
rmontgom@alpha1.curtin.edu.au

Is it fair to assess English with multiple choice items?
Bob Peck
Secondary Education Authority
peckb@sea.wa.edu.au

Journal writing in maths?
R. Montgomery

Associations between teacher-student interpersonal behaviour and student attitudes in mathematics classes
Darrell Fisher and Tony Rickards
erickards@cc.curtin.edu.au

Professionalism and portfolios: Possibilities and pointers
Helen Wildy and John Wallace
Curtin University of Technology
iwallace@info.curtin.edu.au

The Nestor of British colonial education: A portrait of Arthur Mayhew (1878-1948)
Clive Whitehead
University of Western Australia
cwhitehe@ecel.uwa.edu.au

Providing for maximum student engagement in multimedia learning materials at tertiary level
M. Wild, R. Oliver, S. Wynn, C. McLoughlin and J. Herrington
Edith Cowan University
m.wild@cowan.edu.au

School effectiveness research in rural schools
Deidra J. Young and Darrell L. Fisher
Curtin University of Technology

Research supervision for NESB postgraduates at an Australian university: A narrative perspective
John Hall
Curtin University
hallj@educ.curtin.edu.au


Abstracts

Interpersonal teacher behaviour in the primary school
Jill M. Aldridge & Barry J. Fraser

Although substantial research has been undertaken into the interactions between students and their teacher at the high school level, relatively few such investigations have been undertaken at the primary school level. This study aimed to explore, through primary school students' perceptions, interpersonal teacher behaviour and its impact on self-reports of student satisfaction. The investigation involved the administration of two questionnaires to a sample of 560 students from 22 upper primary classes. The instruments included a 'personal' form of a primary version of the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI/Primary), to measure interpersonal teacher behaviour, and a student satisfaction scale, to measure students' attitudes toward their class. The research reported made distinctive contributions to the field of classroom environment research in that, firstly, the Quesionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI) was modified for use in the primary school and, secondly, a 'personal' form of the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction/ Primary (involving a student's perception of his/her individual role within the classroom) was developed and validated. Analysis of the data supported the reliability and validity of the 'personal' form of the QTI/Primary. Further analysis suggested associations between student satisfaction and dimensions of interpersonal teacher behaviour. Generally, girls held more favorable perceptions of interpersonal teacher behavior than did boys.

Motivation in post-compulsory secondary students - a longitudinal study [Full paper]
Susan Beltman

Recent research on motivation has focussed on students' personal goals. Evidence supports the encouragement of task goals in schools. These are associated with feelings of success through mastering new tasks, with applying effort in difficult learning situations, with intentions to continue with schooling, with greater reported satisfaction in school and with the use of more effective learning strategies.

Anderman and Maehr (1994) review research which shows a decline in motivation during early adolescence and suggest that school environments are in part contributing to this. Cross age research in Australia (Clayton-Jones et al, 1992) has indicated differences in goals at different ages and between genders. A longitudinal study in Perth (MacCallum, 1993) found a significant increase in work avoidan ce goals over the transition from primary to secondary school.

This paper presents the findings of a longitudinal study with post-compulsory school-aged adolescents over two years. Subjects were 67 (46 male and 21 female) students from a Perth Senior High School who were of different achievement levels and were enrolled in a variety of courses. Similar questionnaires were administered to the same students in Year 11 (May) and in Year 12 (October), regarding personal goals and satisfaction with various aspects of school.

Most prior research has focussed on task and ego goals, with some investigation of work avoidance goals. This study included these three academic as well as two social goals - social responsibility and prosocial.

Changes in personal motivational goals and in satisfaction with various aspects of school over the two years were investigated. Overall, task goals and enjoyment of school decreased and work avoidance goals increased. Some limitations of this study, implications for schools and directions for future research are briefly considered.

Higher order learning across the curriculum: The WA context
Catherine McLoughlin

The development of higher order thinking skills, or critical thinking, is becoming an increasingly important educational outcome across primary and secondary curricula. One of the barriers to implementing a program for critical thinking is the abundance of definitions of the term , and the consequent confusion in teachers' minds when the term 'critical thinking' is mentioned. This paper will clarify ambiguities surrounding the term and illustrate a working definition which enables teachers to share common understandings about the term. In addition the paper will discuss various strategies currently applied in Wa schools to foster higher order thinking skills.

An empirical investigation on the effectiveness of teaching subject content and learning strategies at university
Denise Chalmers, Richard Fuller & Andrew Guilfoyle

Many universities offer courses in learning and study skills to help students improve the effectiveness of their learning. These courses are usually taught by specialist teachers and are not related to specific subject matter or particular courses of study. There is evidence that these courses have little long term effects on student learning. An alternative approach to improve student learning is for university teachers to teach learning strategies in the context of their regular coursework. This allows students to learn the subject content and apply the strategies for learning this content at the same time. Although it is argued that this is the more effective approach, there is little empirical evidence to support this claim.

This paper reports the results of one study in a research program which investigated the effectiveness of in-context instruction in learning strategies with first year education students. Three groups of students were taught by experienced university lecturers. The experimental group was taught learning strategies by their regular lecturer in the context of the regular unit of coursework. The control group was taught the unit content in the normal way which focused on the subject content and did not include instruction in learning strategies. The voluntary group of students volunteered to attend sessions in their own time to learn some of the same strategies taught to the experimental group. The strategies instruction was situated in the same subject content covered by the experimental and control groups.

All students completed an essay assignment that drew on the learning strategies taught in the program as part of the formal assessment requirements of the unit. The assignments were marked by independent markers under controlled conditions. The in-context learning strategies program was effective with both the experimental and voluntary groups achieving higher results and demonstrating more effective use of strategies than the control group. Both groups of students who received the in-context instruction in learning strategies wrote assignments that were better structured and contained more relevant content than those who did not participate in the program. No differences were observed between the groups in the conventional and technical aspects of assignment writing, such as grammar and expression. These results provide empirical support for the claim that teaching students learning strategies in the context of regular coursework can enhance learning and performance. The implications of this research for university teachers are discussed.

ADD and ADHD: The Prevalence of these conditions and its management in a Western Australian educational context
P. G. Cole

The terms ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are now commonly applied to children with hyperactivity, disinhibition or attention deficits in school classrooms. These behavioural states have only recently been given disorder status in reputable psychological and medical classificatory schemes. Hyperactivity, distractibility and impulsivity are the relevant underlying psychological concepts. Professional opinion is divided on the aetiology, prevalence and significance of these conditions. The disorders are said to be neurodevelopmental conditions of genetic origin. Stimulant drugs (mainly Ritalin) are widely used in the USA to control ADD/ADHD and such treatment are now used frequently in Australia. Amphetamines and pemoline (both stimulants) are also used in selected cases. Recent research in Western Australia has indicated that the conditions are frequently diagnosed in Western Australian schoolchildren and the disorder is associated with significant adaptive behaviour deficits and learning disabilities. Sample data from a Western Australian high school will be used to illustrate the extent of the problem. The sample includes two hundred and forty-eight year eight high school mathematics students. Achievement data on the ADD/ADHD subjects will be compared with those not classified as ADD/ADHD. A survey of significant research done in Australia and overseas will also be summarised. The paper will contain a synopsis of the arguments for and against the validity of these disorders and commentary on the current preference in medical circles for stimulant drug management. Ethical considerations will also be examined in this context.

Portfolio assessment in higher education [Full paper]
Trudi Cooper

The youth work degree course at Edith Cowan University has adopted portfolio assessment as a central feature of the assessment of students in their practical placement. This paper briefly outlines some of the reasons for adopting portfolio assessment and reports the steps taken in implementing this method of assessment with first year students who commenced the course this year. The paper discusses the findings of an independent evaluation of the opinions of students, placement agency supervisors and university staff involved in teaching the unit about the advantages and disadvantages of using this method of assessment. The paper concludes with a summary of the main learning from this experience and indicates the likely implications for future development in Practicum teaching and assessment within the youth work programme.

Developing software for analysis of video tape as data
Tony Fetherston and Ken Knibb

Researchers are making increasing use of video as a way of recording what happens in classrooms. The richness of the information captured by the medium provides the researcher with much more information than audio recordings. With the increasing power of desktop computers it is now theoretically possible to treat video recordings in the same fashion as audio recordings. That is, it is now theoretically possible to display vi deo on the desktop machine and then analyse. But how should we analyse video? In this session some possible ways will be presented and feedback and ideas will be sought in order to guide the development of a software program to analyse multimedia.

Development of personal and class forms of a classroom environment questionnaire [Full paper]
Barry Fraser, Campbell McRobbie and Darrell Fisher

This study involved the development of separate personal and class forms of a new classroom environment instrument which synthesises salient dimensions from existing instruments as well as including relevant new dimensions. Personal forms are more appropriate for identifying differences between subgroups of students within a class and in the construction of case studies of individuals. Quantitative methods and qualitative methods were combined both in the validation phase and in several research applications. Following a pilot study, the questionnaire was administered to a sample of approximately 800 high school science students in 30 science classes. The study resulted in a new widely-applicable classroom environment questionnaire with similar statistical characteristics for the personal and class forms. It was found that: student perceptions on the 'personal' form were systematically less positive than their perceptions of the same class using the conventional 'class' form; gender differences in classroom environment perceptions were greater for the 'personal' form than for the 'class' form; and attitude-environment associations were of comparable magnitudes for the 'personal' and 'class' forms, although each form accounted for unique variance in attitude scores.

A model of the factors contributing to school retention for Aboriginal secondary students
Gary Partington

Aboriginal students in Western Australia constitute a diverse group who share a common characteristic with regard to school: some 80% drop out before reaching the end of Year 12. To remedy this situation requires a sound understanding of the contributory factors. An examination of the literature on school dropouts provides the potential factors involved in decisions to remain or leave school. These parallel the factors related to non-Aboriginal students, but diferences accrue due to the influence of racism and cultural differences. In this paper a theoretical model of the process of interaction as drawn from the literature will be developed.

Writing child welfare history: An historiographical jigsaw? [Full paper]
Rosemary Kerr

Child welfare history has evolved over the past 30 years using theoretical frameworks that have emerged as tools for interpretation in the writing of history. Anthony Platt's (1967) study of juvenile delinquency was a turning point in the study of welfare with his rejection of whig traditional interpretations. Since then marxist and feminist theoretical frameworks have provided useful tools in the field, sparking debate about the nature of welfare history and the need for consideration of class and gender. In the 1980s social theory became a concern for welfare historians and debate about theoretical concerns such as `hegemony' and `social control' are still prevalent. In the 1990s there is a degree of ambivalence amongst some historians about the use of social theory in welfare history. Indeed, the adherance to any one particular theoretical framework as the linchpin to a study is being challenged. A number of welfare historians are proposing a broader theoretical approach to help interpret the seeming paradoxes that emerge when analysing ideologies and practices in welfare. It has been suggested that other theoretical frameworks such as Liberalism and social democracy, as expressed by the policies of the Australian Labor Party, may provide bodies of theory which offer an explanation for the connectons between ideology, the structure of power and the provision of services to the public. This paper will examine the main theoretical concerns that have dominated welfare history and invites discussion about the use and limitations of theory in writing history.

EdStats: A statistical package for beginning researchers
Ken Knibb

EdStats is a Macintosh statistics computer program designed for students beginning their studies of quantitative analysis. Currently, the program is being used in a core first year education unit, Information Technology and Research at Edith Cowan University as well as other units on educational measurement and evaluation. During development, attention centred on producing an interface that was easy for the students to use and understand. Most students are able to master the basic operation of the interface during their first session with the package. This paper describes the features of the program and the development history.

Perceptions of lower secondary design and technology teachers about the utilisation of the design process [Full paper]
Desire Mallet

The process of designing, making and appraising is being presented by the Education Department as central to Technology Education. However, it is not known how this approach could be used to demonstrate students' achievements in Design and Technology. In this connection, seven teachers were interviewed individually in August-September 1995. The study found that the teachers were not all convinced about the practicality of the design process in Design and Technology.

The making component of the approach was perceived as the raison d'etre of Design and Technology. Still, the teachers felt that a design process allowed students to think for themselves while making something desirable. However, it was also noted that the students were not always able to complete their work when they used a design process.The teachers felt alienation vis-a-vis this new technological approach, and they blamed both the universities and the Education Department for their inefficiencies in devising a proper teachers' training scheme for the teaching of Technology. But, they also agreed that, through the design process, students were learning a set of skills much more relevant than that offered by the traditional Manual Arts courses.

Assessment was another area of major concern as teachers were not sure about how it should be carried out. On one side, teachers broke down the total mark for a particular project into many small components to enable them to monitor certain specific objectives, and to justify their marking procedure. On the other side, the teachers believed that it was possible to form comprehensive judgements about the performance of students.

Finally, even if the teachers have explained how the clientele for Design and Technology traditionally came from a low-ability range group, these teachers have called attention to some other areas of major importance. These included the provision of a selected repertoire of basic skills to students; the development of the graphical abilities of students; and the designing of relevant curriculum material.

It may be concluded that the inclusion of the design process in the Technology and Enterprise learning area is not being done smoothly. Some of the recommendations which were made as a result of this research were: (a) to make Technology compulsory at both the primary and the secondary levels, (b) to expose student-teachers to the new technological methods and to new technologies, (c) to offer relevant units in Technology to already trained Manual Arts and Design and Technology teachers, and (d) to provide Design and Technology teachers with clear guidelines about assessment.

A strategy for curriculum dissemination
Clare McBeath

Research into the issues of curriculum dissemination and impleme ntation, and the factors affecting their success, has found that curriculum change is a complex and difficult process and requires careful planning, adequate time, funding and support and opportunities for teacher involvement. Much of the literature recognises the variability and liquidity of individual situations, and the difficulty of determining a single model to suit all. The complexity of change means that, as research seeks key concepts, it must also recognise the dynamics of each innovation as being uniquely different. A number of researchers have stressed the importance of a strong teacher participation role in curriculum change and the need for involvement of teachers in the development and decision making process.

In post compulsory eduction, one of the barriers to effective training is the difficulty instructors and trainers experience in adopting and implementing new courses and procedures to meet the rapidly changing needs of industry. This is an important part of the TAFE curriculum change process and we need to examine carefully the factors which present unnecessary obstacles to change.

This paper calls on research into dissemination of new curriculum materials in the Technical and Further Education sector in Western Australia. The research identified the need for more information, involvement and support in curriculum innovation. It explored the hypothesis that much of the frustration and inefficiency which occurs when TAFE courses are revised can be eradicated by attention given to well developed dissemination strategies. The paper assesses a dissemination strategy in practice with the new Certificate of Horticultural Skills. The strategy encouraged two-way communication, collaboration in joint materials development and lecturer reflection on their practice. It fostered teacher meaning and a sense of ownership. It extended current practice from being one of administrative or management concern, to one involving the users in the process, and overcoming feelings of alienation and lack of support.

The paper describes the seven "tactics" used in the strategy and assesses their effectiveness in breaking down the barriers to effective educational change.

What is good for the goose.... Different truth games within upper school science classrooms
Carolyn Montgomery

Throughout the period between 1975 and 1985, a major concern in post-compulsory schooling was the conflict in providing an appropriate programme of study for those who aspire and those who do not aspire to tertiary study. Increased retention rates led to major changes being made to the Western Australian post-compulsory secondary educational procedures in 1985, from a fine focus on tertiary bound students to a more broad focus to include non-tertiary bound students.

The question yet to be addressed in relation to these changes is: What type of student is created and constituted by the changes? How are individuals constituted in regard to 'failing' or 'succeeding'? What are the 'truth games' (Foucault, 1983) that are being played out in upper school science classrooms? Are these truth games fair to all players?

This paper will address these questions by focussing on the manner in which upper school Physics and Senior Science students are constituted as individuals within post-compulsory schooling. Dealing specifically with Foucault's notion of games of truth, we compare the day-to-day classroom experiences of upper school Physics students and Senior Science students. We demonstrate that, from this perspective, there are differences between the normalising procedures of Physics and Senior Science. In particular, we argue that the current practices in upper school science education construct inequitable outcomes and therefore need to be challenged.


Associations between teacher-student interpersonal behaviour and student attitudes in mathematics classes [Full paper]
Darrell Fisher and Tony Rickards

This paper reports on research using a convenient questionnaire designed to allow mathematics teachers to assess teacher-student interpersonal behaviour in their classrooms. The paper discusses the various forms of the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI), and reports its use in past research and in particular provides validation data for the first use of the QTI with a large sample of mathematics classes. The effect of teacher-student interpersonal behaviour on the students' attitude towards their mathematics class was investigated and the dimensions of the QTI were found to be associated significantly with student attitude scores. The paper also describes how mathematics teachers can and have used the questionnaire to assess perceptions of their own teacher-student interpersonal behaviour and use this as a basis for reflecting on their own teaching.

Associations between teacher-student interpersonal behaviour, cultural background and achievement [Full paper]
Tony Rickards and Darrell Fisher

The purpose of this study was to determine associations between students' perceptions of their teachers' interpersonal behaviour, some factors of the students' cultural backgrounds and their attitudinal and achievement outcomes. A sample of 3994 students from 182 secondary school science and mathematics classes in 35 schools completed a survey including the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI), an attitude to class scale and questions relating to cultural background. The sample was chosen carefully so as to be representative. Achievement on internal school benchmark assessment tests were used as student outcome measures. Statistical analyses confirmed the reliability and validity of the QTI for secondary school science and mathematics students. Furthermore, it was found that student perceptions of teacher-student interpersonal behaviour were related to their achievement and there were differences in the perceptions of students from different cultural backgrounds.

Is it fair to assess English with multiple choice items?
Bob Peck

This exploratory study is a test of the validity of using multiple choice testing to assess Reading Comprehension in the Tertiary Entrance Examination (TEE) in English in Western Australia. It addresses a current concern of the English Syllabus Committee: that it may be theoretically unsound to have a single 'correct' answer to a question about the meaning of a given text.

It is intended that the English TEE should assess achievement of the objectives of the course. Ideally, results should depend only on achievement of these objectives and should not be determined by individual differences in prior learning. Candidates with some commonality of cultural background could be expected to have certain shared understandings, and these would be expected to vary systematically from those of candidates whose cultural background was different. If this prior learning plays a significant part in Reading Comprehension one would expect to find differences in the examination results obtained by students of different cultural backgrounds.

In an empirical test of bias, the results of a sample of over a thousand candidates in the 1994 English TEE were compared using the Rasch Model to estimate item difficulties. The item difficulties were estimated for several groups of candidates, from different cultural backgrounds, and compared. These item difficulties are expected to be independent of cultural background in an unbiased test. An analysis of item types was carried out to identify the kinds of item most likely to give rise to bias. Information gained from this study could lead to the removal of potentially biased items at the test design stage, which could increase the validity of this mode of testing.

Journal writing in maths?
R. Montgomery

I have been intending to include journal writing in my maths classes for a number of years now. I have attended workshops on language in mathematics and have completed the Stepping Out professional development (PD) program. All these workshops and PD sessions have espoused the value of journal writing as a teaching/learning tool. My own significant background study in language development also lends support to the notion of concept development through journal writing. So I was keen to trail journal writing as a teaching/learning strategy in high school mathematics.

This year I have moved to a District High School in the Great Southern. I have trialed journal writing with four maths development classes during the first semester of this year (1996). Being in a small scale environment like this has given me the flexibility I needed. I have made attempts to trial journal writing in larger Senior High Schools without much success. Pressures to keep up with other teachers who are not trialing journal writing has meant that I have always had to abandon the trials due to time pressure. In the District High School setting I have been in control of the programming and have made the time to trial journal writing.

After the trial I have come to believe that journal writing was good for my teaching and I believe the adjustments I was able to make to my teaching have benefited my students. However, I took me up most of my DOTT time reading journals. I attempted to streamline the process and gained some benefits but it still took most of my DOTT time. This will not do. I have too many other things to do. Journal writing, as useful and powerful as it is, will have to become part of the curriculum. It is far too time consuming to do as a sideline.

Professionalism and portfolios: Possibilities and pointers
Helen Wildy and John Wallace

Two reform approaches-the portfolio culture and teacher professionalism-converge in the context of a system-wide program for the professional development of school leaders in the State of Western Australia. We report the use of the portfolio to assist principals, deputy principals and heads of subject departments improve their performance through the development of accountability relationships. As a process, the portfolio was intended to stimulate growth because it is reflective, collaborative, formative, and developed over time. As an artefact, the portfolio was supposed to contain evidence of growth. However, participants used their portfolios for a range of purposes: to document improvement in performance; to organise; to record achievement; and to collect samples. Participants' difficulty in adopting the portfolio for professional accountability arose from a number of tensions: between theory and practice; public and private demands of portfolios; the practical nature of leaders' work and the reflective nature of the portfolio; the portfolio as product and as process; and between choice and compliance. Balancing competing demands will help leaders use the portfolio to understand their accountability relationships and account to their peers for their practice. Our study shows that, despite cultural and logistic problems, the portfolio has potential to develop the professional knowledge and practice of school leaders.

The Nestor of British colonial education: A portrait of Arthur Mayhew (1878-1948)
Clive Whitehead

The paper constitutes a resume of Mayhew's life and work based on official sources and those provided by his surviving family. Mayhew was a product of Winchester and New College who joined the elite Indian Educational Service at the turn of the century and rose to be Director of Public Instruction[Education] in the Central Provinces before returning to England in 1922. He then had a spell as a Classics Master at Eton College before becoming Joint-Secretary of the Colonial Office Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies in 1929. He retired from this position in December 1939. He died in 1948. In the period between the two world wars he was the foremost scholar and unofficial spokesman on British colonial education - hence the title of the essay.

Providing for maximum student engagement in multimedia learning materials at tertiary level
M. Wild, R. Oliver, S. Wynn, C. McLoughlin and J. Herrington

A major difficulty with designing instruction in multimedia materials, is resolving how to promote meaningful student cognitive engagement with content information, while at the same time ensuring students are motivated by the learning experience. Essentially the difficulty lies with the nature of use of multimedia materials; that is, they are usually designed to be used outside of a traditional classroom context, without the prescence of a teacher or lecturer. In this context, it is impossible to monitor, negotiate or adapt the teaching-learning experience for individual students; or perhaps, to plan for incidental learning. There are some theoretical frameworks that might provide part-solutions to the problem; but none of these appear to be the whole solution. This presentation will demonstrate two multimedia learning products that, each in different ways, attempts to provide a solution to the problem; it will also examine the problem in greater detail and provide opportunities for the audience to discuss the issues with presenters.

School effectiveness research in rural schools [Full paper]
Deidra J. Young and Darrell L. Fisher

Two rural schools formed part of a larger study by agreeing to participate in a pilot study of the effectiveness of schools in rural Western Australia. A number of measures were employed to collect data at the teacher, student and parent levels. These included measures of satisfaction with the school itself and the school climate. Characteristics of these two schools are compared and findings reported regarding the differences in parent involvement in the school, classroom learning environment, student self-concept and student satisfaction. For the purposes of this study, the effect of the learning environment and self-concept were analysed for their effects on student satisfaction with the school.

Research supervision for NESB postgraduates at an Australian university: A narrative perspective
John Hall

In this paper I begin to explore what might be glossed as Australian NESB postgraduates' powerlessness in their supervisory relationships. I set out initially to undertake a 'qualitative' study of international and NESB students' perceptions of their research supervision, as a counterbalance and complement to the standard survey approach of my colleagues. My first reporting of 'findings, however, was in compliance with the overall (fairly positivist) objective of producing frequency distributions to indicate such things as levels of satisfaction and problems with the practice of supervision etc. Now I am revisiting some of the interview material I collected/constructed with a view to exploiting its narrative potential.


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