William J. R. Allen



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AN ANALYSIS OF CURRICULUM POLICY

FOR UPPER SECONDARY SCHOOL HISTORY

IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA FROM 1983 TO 2000.


William J.R. ALLEN

This thesis is presented in partial fulfilment for the degree of

Doctor of Education

at The University of Western Australia

2004

DECLARATION

This thesis is my own work, and no part of it has been submitted for a degree at this, or at any other, university.





William J. R. Allen

ABSTRACT
The aim of the study in this thesis was to conduct a longitudinal analysis of curriculum policy for upper secondary school History in Western Australia (WA) from 1983 to 2000. During this period three significant changes were made to the History curriculum for students in Years 11 and 12, in 1982-3, from 1985 to 1990 and in 1996-97. These changes evolved from a number of influences. Also, they impacted on, and were reflected in, relevant History curriculum documents, and had a considerable impact on the teaching and learning of the subject.
For the purpose of the research, policy was conceptualised as a trajectory, with each phase having three principal contexts: the context of influence, the context of policy text production, and the context of practice (Ball, 1993, 1994a; Ball & Bowe, 1992; Bowe, Ball & Gold, 1992). Analysis of the context of influence focuses on the antecedents and pressures leading to the gestation of policy. These include: the various social, economic, political and educational factors driving the policy; the influences of pressure groups and broader social movements; and the historical background to the policy, including previous developments and initiatives. The context of policy text production is concerned with the generation of the policy texts and includes an analysis of the policy documents themselves. Analysis of the context of practice involves investigating the interpretation and enactment of the policy by those responsible for carrying it out, and by those for whom it is intended.
Qualitative methods have been used for data collection and analysis. The primary sources of data collection were a range of relevant documents, supported by semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Analysis was based on the methods of data reduction, data displays and drawing conclusions.
The findings of the study reveal the complexities of the policy process. In particular, they reveal the struggles by different interest groups to bring their understandings and views of the nature of History teaching to bear on upper school curricula. Within each of the three phases of change different interest groups were able to dominate the contest to impose their versions of the nature of History, and how it should be taught and assessed. The changing nature of History in the post-compulsory years of schooling in WA in the last two decades of the twentieth century is explained by the changing influence of a range of forces, which emerged from different levels and impacted on the subject, in the context of a constantly shifting policy environment.
The findings are brought together in a meta-analysis which identifies four major trends in the History curriculum policy process in WA. These trends are ‘curriculum as worthwhile knowledge’, ‘curriculum policy as a form of control, and its impact upon teacher professionalism’, ‘the role of the state in the policy process’, and ‘public policy perspectives on the curriculum’. The meta-analysis concludes with an assessment of Looney’s (2002) argument that Ball's model of policy analysis as adapted for use in this study provides a satisfactory unitary theory of curriculum in a 'post-Tyler' age.
The findings of the research provide implications for future education policy processes, particularly in the light of proposed curricular changes to upper school subjects in WA, to be mandated in 2007. There are also potential implications for curriculum and for policy, in theory and in practice in contexts beyond the Australian state of WA.


Style
The style and format adopted in the production of this thesis is that employed by the American Psychological Association as recommended in their Publication Manual (APA, 2001).


TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1

Purpose and significance 2

Background 4

History curricula in Western Australia before 1983 5

The curriculum policy context in Western Australia 9

A theoretical framework for policy analysis 14

An overview of research methods 18

Data collection 20

Data analysis 22

Structure of the thesis 22

CHAPTER 2 DEVELOPMENTS IN HISTORY TEACHING SINCE 1960, IN

ENGLAND AND WALES, THE UNITED STATES OF

AMERICA AND AUSTRALIA. 24

Introduction 24

The nature of the crisis in History teaching in an international context and some responses 26

The nature of the crisis in history teaching in England and Wales, and

some responses 26

The nature of the crisis in history teaching in the United States of America,

and some responses 31

The nature of the crisis in history teaching in Australia, and some

responses 35



Developments in philosophy, pedagogy, psychology and sociology, and their

influence on History curricula 41

Ontology, epistemology and the changing nature of History 42

Pedagogical influences on the changing nature of History 47

Educational psychology and theories of learning 50

Sociology and its impact on History curricula 53

Conclusion 57



CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 58

Introduction 58

Aim and research questions 58

The policy analysis framework 61

The framework of Ball and others 62

The framework of Taylor and others 65

Vidovich’s framework 67

Implications of the policy framework for the research methodology 69

Qualitative research approaches 70

Interpretivism as the principal research paradigm 70

Issues of reliability and validity 73

Data collection and analysis 75

Documents as data 75

Interviews 79

Data analysis 83

Conclusion 86

CHAPTER 4 FIRST PHASE OF THE POLICY PROCESS: 1983 – 84 88

Introduction 88

The institutions of upper school curriculum policy making in Western Australia,

with special reference to History curricula 89

Context of influence 92

Social factors influencing the policy process 93

Political factors influencing the policy process 94

Economic factors influencing the policy process 95

Cultural factors influencing the policy process 97

Educational factors influencing the policy process 98

Context of policy text production 106

Analysis of the contestations in the process of formulating History

curriculum policy 107

Analysis of the policy texts 115

Context of practice 121

Impact of the new curriculum on the teaching and learning of History 123

Impact of the new curriculum on levels of professional morale 126

Impact of the new curriculum on the teaching of Australian History 127

Impact of the new curriculum on curriculum pressure 128

Impact of the new curriculum on numbers of students taking History in

Years 11 and 12 131

Conclusion 132

CHAPTER 5 SECOND PHASE OF THE POLICY PROCESS: 1985 TO 1990 134

Introduction 134

The changing institutions of upper school curriculum policy making in Western Australia, after 1984, with special reference to History curricula 135

Context of influence 137

Economic factors influencing the policy process 138

Social factors influencing the policy process 140

Political factors influencing the policy process 141

Broader educational factors influencing the policy process 142

Context of policy text production 147

Analysis of the policy texts 161

Context of practice 168

Impact of the new curriculum on the teaching and learning of History 168

Impact of the new curriculum on levels of professional morale 172

Impact of the new curriculum on the teaching of Australian History 177

Impact of the new curriculum on curriculum pressure and student

enrolments in History 179

Conclusion 181

CHAPTER 6 THIRD PHASE OF THE POLICY PROCESS: 1996-97 183

Introduction 183

Changes to the institutions of upper school curriculum policy making in Western Australia, from 1990 – 1997, with special reference to History curricula 184

Context of influence 185

Economic factors influencing the policy process 186

Political factors influencing the policy process 187

Context of policy text production 197

Analysis of the policy texts 209

Context of practice 219

Impact of the new curriculum on the teaching and learning of History 220

Impact of the new curriculum on assessment structures and practices 224

Impact of the new curriculum on levels of professional morale 228

Impact of the new curriculum on the teaching of Australian History 229

Impact of the new curriculum on curriculum pressure and student

enrolments in History 232

Conclusion 233

CHAPTER 7 META-ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION 235

Introduction 235

Meta-analysis of the research findings 236

Curriculum as worthwhile knowledge 236

Curriculum policy as a form of control and its impact upon teacher professionalism 245

Role of the state in the policy process 251

Public policy perspectives on the curriculum 258

Conclusion 265

CHAPTER 8 FUTURE DIRECTIONS: IMPLICATIONS FOR CURRICULUM

AND POLICY; THEORY AND PRACTICE 269

Introduction 269

Implications for policy 270

Implications for curriculum 272

Implications for theory 275

Implications for practice 277

Conclusion 278

REFERENCES 280

APPENDICES 297

LIST OF FIGURES

3.1 A modified policy cycle: Incorporating macro constraint and micro agency 69


4.1 The bodies involved in determining upper school syllabuses and examinations in WA before 1984, with particular reference to History curricula 91

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

ABS Australian Bureau of Statistics

AEC Australian Education Council

AISWA Association of Independent Schools in WA

ALP Australian Labor Party (Federal branch and State branch)

ASAT Australian Scholastic Aptitude Test

BSE Board of Secondary Education

CCWA Curriculum Council of Western Australia (replaced SEA after 1997)

CSE Certificate of Secondary Education

EDWA Education Department of WA

HAWA History Association of WA (later became the HTAWA)

HJSC History Joint Syllabus Committee (1975 – 1992)

HSC History Syllabus Committee (after 1992)

HTAWA History Teachers Association of WA

JSC Joint Syllabus Committee (one for each TAE / TEE subject)

MOVEET Ministerial Council on Education, Employment and Training

NSW New South Wales

OBE Outcomes-based education

PEB Public Examinations Board (based in UWA 1913 – 1974)

SC Syllabus Committees of the SEA (Replaced JSCs after 1992)

SEA Secondary Education Authority of Western Australia

TAE Tertiary Admissions Examinations (1974 – 1985)

TAEC Tertiary Admissions Examination Committee

TAFE Technical and Further Education

TEE Tertiary Entrance Examinations (After 1986)

TISC Tertiary Institutions Service Centre

USA United States of America

UWA The University of Western Australia



WA Western Australia

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
First, I acknowledge two outstanding supervisors, Associate Professor Lesley Vidovich and Professor Tom O’Donoghue. Since I sat in his first class at UWA, Tom has been an inspiring teacher and mentor. It was Tom who gave me the confidence to pursue a Doctorate, persuaded me to resume study at UWA, and guided me in the choice of this topic which I have found fascinating. I have valued greatly his historical skills and attention to detail. Lesley has also been a most inspiring teacher and mentor, for whom there is never too little time to give support and guidance. I have learnt so much about the policy process from her, and have enjoyed our many discussions about education, policy and schools. Both supervisors gave me opportunities to teach in Masters’ programmes abroad, which have deepened my understandings. They have been caring, wise, friendly and supportive, and my debt to them is enormous.
I acknowledge the valuable contributions of the interview respondents, who not only gave of their time generously and imparted enormous detail, but also followed up with further advice or sources of information. I am also most grateful to staff at the Curriculum Council of WA, who always made me feel very welcome and who gave all possible assistance in the search for documentary evidence. In particular, I thank Anne Shilling and Maxine Spalding for all their efforts.
Colleagues in schools and History departments have had a huge influence on my career, which is reflected in this study. In particular, I acknowledge Wilf Hammond, Norman McLeod and the late Tom Percival, who gave me a love of History teaching at Durham School; Don and Betty Carter at Wesley College, and Mal Poole; Phil Burns, Mike Kinsella, Greg Symonds and colleagues at Corpus Christi College; and Chris Lilleyman, Tina Campbell, and my other departmental colleagues at Perth College. Their wisdom, support, guidance and friendship over the years have been most important.
I have loved teaching History because I have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful young women and men in my career and I acknowledge most sincerely their contributions what is an opus amori. Memories of them remain ever fond and strong. In particular, I acknowledge my Year 11 Perth College History class of 2003, whom to leave was one of the biggest costs of this study.
I have always valued the contribution of my parents, Rena and Bill, who made enormous sacrifices to give me the best education when I was younger, and for their unconditional love and support. My deepest thanks go to Pat, Nikki and Ben, and little Bayden, who have always had faith in me and loved me, and who have supported me through my years of study. They have made huge sacrifices to allow me to pursue my dreams and study full-time this year and for that, and for everything else, I will always be so grateful. I dedicate this work to them.


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