An investment in being human : exploring year 9 student exhibitions : an ACT case study

  • Anna McKenzie

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    ACT Year 9 Exhibitions Program aligns curriculum, pedagogy and assessment in the design and implementation of rich learning tasks, which are focussed on transdisciplinary, problem-based, community-centred issues. It provides an authentic assessment model through a panel assessment process of demonstrated student achievement. This case study research examines the uptake of an Exhibitions approach in three ACT high schools. It discovers, through their own telling, what inspires commitment by participants to the program and the ways that they measure success. The study draws on a rich data set of narrative inquiry and semi-structured interviews with teachers and students from the case study schools. Analysis of the 'lived experiences' of the participants indicates that how individuals profit by the program is determined by five critical factors which are realized differently for them. Further, for the Year 9 Student Exhibitions Program to succeed in meeting its goals of providing for teacher renewal and improved student learning outcomes, and of promoting high school reform, certain conditions must prevail. These conditions converge around the support afforded teachers to build their capacity for curriculum and pedagogical change, and the opportunities for engagement and agency of both teachers and students in the design of the Exhibition task and its implementation. This study investigates the realities of implementing change in schools and its findings augment what theorists would predict for school change. It indicates that the extent to which Exhibitions can drive a wedge into the 'business-as-usual' approach of the ACT's more traditional high schools, and provide an alternative view of what it means to educate for the 21st century, depends ultimately upon the human and structural conditions created in the school, and the authenticity of the approach to uptake. This study contains important recommendations for government and education systems alike as they pursue school change.
    Date of Award2008
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMary MACKEN-HORARIK (Supervisor), Affrica Taylor (Supervisor), Jim Woolnough (Supervisor) & Marie Brennan (Supervisor)

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