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A case study of curriculum innovation: The implementation of the physical science course in Western Australian secondary schools

Dynan, Muredach Benedict Camillas (1985) A case study of curriculum innovation: The implementation of the physical science course in Western Australian secondary schools. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

This study was designed to examine the Innovation processes associated with the Introduction of the Physical Science course in Western Australian secondary schools in 1978. Case study methods. Including participant-observation, Interviews and more quantitative techniques were used to describe and analyze the processes. Influencing factors and change agent strategies prior to and during Implementation. Implementation, the main focus of the study, was conceptualized as one of five Interrelated phases, the others being Inception, development, dissemination and Incorporation.

At the Inception phase, the processes of negotiation among key groups were found to be Important in determining the form of the Innovation. The curriculum development phase was shown to Involve creative adaptation of existing Ideas and materials. The dissemination phase was characterized by a strategy of persuasion. Various factors Influencing adoption were Identified.

Three aspects of the Implementation phase were examined. Firstly, analysis of the Implementation strategy revealed four elements of which the collaborative model of inservice development was central. The other elements were resource provision, communication linkage and Innovation protection. Secondly, the processes of Implementation were analyzed in terms of adaptation. Factors Influencing these processes were Identified. Questionnaire data from the second cohort of teachers revealed significant associations between these factors and perceived success of Implementation.

Thirdly, variations in modes of Implementation were analyzed and three dimensions contributing to these modes Identified. An exploration of possible relationships between the dimensions and student cognitive and attitudinal outcomes revealed little statistical evidence of association in this case.

Following initial Implementation, the degrees of Institutionalization, Incorporation and achievement of the goals of the Innovation after a five-year period were examined. Various factors Including teacher transfer and changing contextual Influences were found to affect the Incorporation processes.

Based on the findings, propositions are advanced in respect of each Innovation phase. These are brought together in ten major theoretical conclusions about curriculum innovation within school systems.

The thesis concludes with a discussion of the Implications of the findings and suggestions for further research in this area.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Porter, Paige and Straton, Ralph
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/51525
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