Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Literature Review

Research is one of my favourite pastimes, sitting in a library with purpose is quite a fun thing. Yesterday I sat and read about some of the issues faced by disadvantaged students. As I work on my literature review for my masters I'll keep updating this post.

1. It's not a new problem.

The Coleman Report in 1966 was a seminal report in investigating disadvantaged youth in schools (commonly referenced). I need to read it!

To address the issue in Texas, standardised testing was introduced and showed a high degree of success, but at the expense of a narrowing curriculum (Smith, 2005). This was again seen in the UK (Cox, 1999).

The Australian Government recognises disadvantaged student performance as a problem and have produced a paper outlining some effective measures that can be taken. I need to find references, I've read DEEWR articles in the past(here), now I need to use them!

In general though, Australian mathematics education fared ok when in 2000 we were compared to 31 OECD countries (OECD study, 2003), Australian education was significantly higher on the PISA scale for 21 countries and only significantly lower for two (Japan and Korea).

Students that study in state schools have significantly lower funding that independent and private schools (Edwards, 2008).

2. Environment is a key factor

In a US study, a pre-primary student given extra assistance by a university eventually graduated with two degrees. Nothing spectacular here except her parents had sub 40 IQ (Wickelgren, 1999).

3. Students require attitude adjustment

In a Queensland study in 1995, an observer recognised that until students are assisted in changing their perspective they cannot begin to appreciate any assistance given to help them gain access to university pathways (Campbell, Cook and Dornan, 1995).

I saw as a result of my action research in term 1 & 2 that students need to understand what academic behaviours are and why they are important. This can result in quite spectacular short term success. These behaviours in themselves are not enough to ensure ongoing success as retention requires repetition and a long term committed approach to provide lasting benefits.

4. Students require a range of motivational support

There is no one way to motivate students. Many theories exist and none are perfect. Common theories are Expectancy x value theory, Attribution cognitive theory, Attribution Achievement motivation theory and Achievement goal theory (King, 1998).

5. School can both improve future prospects and reinforce existing expectations.

For some students schools can inspire them to levels higher than their parents. For others, schools will reinforce similar job prospects to their parents (Campbell, Cook, Dornan, 1995) and schooling reproduces the structure of inequality itself (DEEWR Component A, 2009, p.29).

High SES students are over-represented and low SES students are underrepresented because students from different SES backgrounds are differentially prepared by schooling for entry into university (DEEWR, 2009, p.29)

6. It is possible to improve university pathway access

There's nothing easy about it, but it is possible with the proper long term approach. Now the task is to create a way to find that correct method for our school.


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