Details of Thesis

Title Re-Engaging Students in their Learning Through Middle School Reform: a case study evaluation of a vertically structured curriculum
Author Jones, Mellita M
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2005
Abstract The phrase “middle schooling” refers to the school setting for adolescent students generally between the ages of 11 and 15 years of age (Lawton, 1999). This period of time has been recognized on a national level as being particularly significant in education. A call for reform in upper primary and lower secondary to address the understanding of adolescents in a complex and changing society has been recognized publicly at a federal and state level (Lawton, 1999). This research evaluates the redesign of one middle school’s structure through the implementation of a vertical curriculum in a catholic secondary college in a country town. The program has been in place for three years in the college and the need to evaluate it takes on significance for the college itself, and the wider educational community who have been discussing and researching middle school curriculum design for a number of years. Research methodology takes the form of attitudinal questionnaires administered to parents, students and staff in the college. Quantitative analysis using descriptive statistics is used for closed questions to look for significant differences between the parent, student and teacher attitude towards the philosophy and delivery of the vertical structure. One-way ANOVA and MANOVA analysis revealed that parents, students and staff were all supportive of the new structure and its driving philosophies, although parents scored significantly higher on the scales examined than staff or students. Correlations and Chi Square analysis were applied to selected scales, revealing overall that the outcomes of the vertical curriculum are being met. A number of areas were also identified as needing improvement, with areas of emphasis differing for the parent, staff and student groups in the community.
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