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Type: Thesis
Title: Exploring learning and employability skills and their relationship with the Australian Curriculum, SACE and the General Capabilities
Author: Hanley, Jacob Jon
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: School of Education
Abstract: Work performance and success in the twenty-first century is broadly dictated by an individual’s learner and employability skills. These are skills that are not discipline specific, but relate to a wide range of contexts to allow an individual to be successful in contemporary society. These skills are now also becoming part of the accepted standards of performance for students. However, if students are to meet these standards of performance they must first be developed and promoted in the classroom. There is a demonstrated consensus in the literature that classroom activities and student focus will always be centered on what is assessed; if there is a disconnection between the standards for assessment and the objectives of the curriculum, then the curriculum objectives will not be represented in the tasks that students are presented. Despite this, there is limited research that explores how these twenty-first century skills are incorporated into Australian curricula and assessed in the classroom. The Employability Skills specified in the Core Skills for Work (CSfW) Developmental Framework are echoed in the Australian Curriculum and the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) Curriculum with the inclusion of the General Capabilities. Each of these General Capabilities resonate the skills that are acknowledged globally as being key to developing proficient learners and successful contributors to society. This thesis explores the alignment between Employability Skills specified by the CSfW Developmental Framework, Curriculum Objectives and student assessments for SACE Stage 1 Mathematics through a qualitative analysis of the curriculum and the provided school-based assessment documents. The initial analysis evaluated the alignment between the General Capabilities and the SACE Performance Standards for Stage 1 Mathematics. The results of the thematic analysis of the two document sets showed that the SACE Performance Standards omitted the majority of the General Capability Key Idea Elements, specifically for the ICT Capability, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding, and Intercultural Understanding. This result confirmed that the current SACE Performance Standards are only able to measure student performance against the Numeracy, Literacy, and Critical and Creative Thinking Capabilities, highlighting a disconnection between the curriculum objectives and student assessment. In addition to the review of the SACE Performance Standards, the study also analysed examples of Stage 1 Mathematics school-based assessments to explore any intrinsic links to the General Capabilities. These assessment documents were provided by a co-educational secondary school located in Adelaide, South Australia. The results of this analysis showed a similar alignment to the General Capabilities as what was identified in the analysis of the SACE Performance Standards. Only the Numeracy, Literacy, and Critical and Creative Thinking Capabilities were challenged and measured by the school-based assessments; the remaining four capabilities were all omitted from the assessment tasks. This result highlighted that the Performance Standards stipulated by the SACE Subject Outline for Stage 1 Mathematics had an ongoing effect on the way that school-based assessments were developed and the skills that were measured. The outcomes of this study demonstrate the need for standards of performance, curriculum objectives and student assessment to be aligned. The alignment of these three elements of education will help ensure that employability and learner skills for the twenty-first century are developed and measured in South Australian classrooms. In addition to this, the review of the SACE Subject Outline suggested that the current SACE Curriculum framework prevented schools the freedom to integrate courses and better represent the General Capabilities in classroom activities and assessments. A reform of this framework could open the potential for the implementation of a highly contextualised curriculum, allowing students to apply their knowledge to applications that they are expected to face outside of the classroom.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (MTeach) -- University of Adelaide, School of Education, 2019
Description: This item is only available electronically.
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the author of this thesis and do not wish it to be made publicly available, or you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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