Spring 2013


Students' and Human Rights Awareness in Secondary Schools' Environment in Delta State

By: Agharuwhe A. Akiri

The paper reviewed the concept of human rights, possible origin and relevance to human society in general and the school system in particular. It evaluated people’s level of awareness of these rights amongst students and teachers of secondary schools in Delta Central Senatorial District. The stratified random sampling technique was adopted to select the sample size of students and teacher used for the study, in a descriptive survey design research. The instrument used was the three scale questionnaire, designed by the researchers to collect data for the study. The simple percentage was used as statistical tool for the analysis of data. The findings indicated among others, that there is limited awareness of the fundamental rights amongst secondary school students and teacher. The study recommended inter alia, that the state should seek to consciously promote fundamental Human Rights Awareness, by making the study of subjects which contains elements of the constitution as core, especially for those in the Primary and Secondary level of Education.

Does Everyone Want Social Justice? Conflicting School Governance Perspectives regarding Social Justice

By: Dr. Gadi Bialik, Adv. Yael Kafri and Idit Livneh

The theoretical grounds underlying this paper are the variety of governance perspectives, which represent different political and economic ideologies (Green, 2005; Manzer, 2003). The coexistence of these often clashing attitudes is one of the reasons for policy ambiguity and policy implementation gaps (Malen, 2006). It can also expose disputing social justice agendas of different governing actors (Glatter, 2002; Manzer, 2005). This study diagnoses governance perspectives of two major governing actors in the educational regime (Manzer, 2005): the central government and the Local Education Authorities (LEAs), in order to expose their social justice agendas.

School Choice: Demands and Expectations of Chilean Families According to How Much They Pay for Education

By: Sara Joiko

In the early 1980’s an education policy in Chile was formulated that encouraged the private sector to participate more strongly in the delivery of the educational service, with the purpose to achieve to have more students attending the education system and decentralize the education responsibility from the State. On the other hand, in the 1990’s it was introduced as a mixed funding mechanism that allowed schools to charge a fee to the families and also receive a public funding. These two neoliberal policies led to the generation of an educational quasi-market model based in the belief of academic freedom of schools and families. From the perspective of rational choice theory, families are expected to choose the school based on academic and quality factors, therefore schools are necessarily forced to improve in this area and the education in Chile will gradually improve.

In this article we analyze the school choice process for Chilean families across the 30 years have passed from the implementation of the first education policy around school choice. The purpose is to understand this process from the perspective of how much parents are willing to pay to reach their demands and expectations when they made their choice. This aim is situated as a national problem where school choice in the Chilean context has not been successful in terms of improvement of the education quality. The information that we used is from a quantitative study, which applied a survey to 1,811 parents. From an education policy approach the contribution of this study is to understand from an economic and sociological view the process of parental choice, and to suggest a more effective policy around school choice.

A Study of Utah’s New Century Scholarship (NCS) Program

By: Christine Kearl, Deborah Byrnes, and Cathy Maahs-Fladung

This was a study about the New Century Scholarship (NCS) program offered to Utah high school students at commencement for earning an Associate of Arts (AA) degree by the time they graduate from high school. An Associate of Arts degree is earning 60 college credits toward a specific AA program. The goal of the NCS program was to assist students to bachelor degree completion faster than the traditional time.

This program has been in Utah for 20 years, but no research about the program exists. Annually, the cost to taxpayers is $2 million dollars. This study was conducted to determine if the New Century Scholarship (NCS) expedites bachelor degree completion and if so what variables on the career pathway assisted toward quicker completion.

The spring of 2012 the Utah Systems of Higher Education (USHE) emailed and mailed surveys to three cohort groups of high school graduates. The response rate was 56%— high enough to generalize results. Descriptive data, statistical analysis, and multiple-regression tests were run on the data. The most significant discovery was the fact that the NCS does expedite bachelor degree completion for both males and females with an average time to completion of 3.57 years. Females did complete their degree earlier than males by half a year. This is less time than the national average of 4.7 years to bachelor degree completion (Complete College America, 2009). This calculation by Complete College America is without an Associate of Arts degree at the time of high school graduation. Another important finding was the rate of completion for NCS recipients with a bachelor degree at 83.2% for the three year cohort group. The variables that were significant in expediting graduation for the NCS scholarship recipients were gender, college major, and college selection.

The multiple-regression analysis identified additional variables that expedited bachelor degree completion. These variables were attending school full-time, enrolling in and attending only one college, and the number of Associate of Arts courses accepted toward bachelor degree completion.

Assessment Policy and Practices: Test Accommodations for Students without Disabilities?

By: Pei-Ying Lin

Offering appropriate test accommodations (e.g., extra time, computer, scribe) to students with special needs can help these students demonstrate their knowledge and skills, increase participation rates, and ensure test validity and fairness for all students (e.g., Bolt & Thurlow, 2007; Fuchs et al., 2000; Lindstrom & Gregg, 2007). According to the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing(American Educational Research Association et al., 1999), test accommodations are defined as “any action taken in response to a determination that an individual’s disability requires a departure from established testing protocol” (p. 101). The term “accommodation” is limited to changes in test administration conditions that are intended to support students with special needs in demonstrating their knowledge and skills, but do not change what the test is intended to measure. Moreover, the changes do not inflate the test results or simply help student score higher, or give unfair advantages/disadvantages to examinees. In contrast, changes that do affect what a test measures are sometimes referred to as modifications. For example, if the purpose of the test is to measure comprehension of the text, then extra time might permit the student to demonstrate his comprehension, making the test results more valid. However, allowing a student with a reading disability extra time on a test intended to measure reading speed within a certain period of time would not be appropriate.

Current literature mainly focuses on accommodations for students with special needs. Accommodations for student without disabilities are rarely discussed. In reality, students without disabilities may be permitted to use accommodations when they write large-scale assessments. Therefore, this study investigated this special group in order to fill critical gaps in both knowledge and practices in fields of special education and educational assessments.

Turning Challenges into Opportunities for Educational Leaders

By: Lacovos Psaltis

The main objective of this paper is to put forward the idea that the bipolar challenges that educational leaders are confronted with can be addressed instead as complementary opportunities.

The research paradigm employed in this study is qualitative and the research approach consists mainly of literature review from books, journals and mass media, triangulated with experiential learning from my service in education over 35 years. Data analysis is carried out through contents and discourse analysis.

Globalisation is usually blamed for undermining national autonomy by local authorities, who are either incapable or unwilling to address local challenges instead of utilising them as opportunities for exploration; tradition and modernity should not be viewed as a bipolar, but as a natural progression; short- term planning, being the breakdown of long-term planning should be faced as an intertwined process, while competition might take a positive perspective if it were viewed as a goal of reaching one’s optimal expectations. Finally, spirituality and materialism may coexist when a happy medium is struck in how these are pursued through education.

Reforms in Greek Education 1991 -2011: Reforms or Something Else?

By: Anna Saiti

Reform is often based on the principle that there is always a better alternative to the current situation. Given that education, among other characteristics, also has a high economic value, then the pursuit of a ‘better’ education (and hence the recognition of meaningful reforms that are sustainable in the long-term, and the optimal adjustment of the educational organizations to new environmental elements so that their needs are met) becomes crucially important at critical times. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of the educational reforms that have taken place in the Greek educational system (at all levels of education) over the last few years. This study supports the view that if Greece wants to overcome the crisis in the economy and implement substantial educational reforms it should be prepared to follow a stable, long-term and innovative educational policy (without serving mainly political goals) that calls for the systematic treatment of all educational problems in an environment of constructive and realistic dialogue with all relevant groups, and, most importantly, ensures that the school system has the capacity to implement and sustain the educational reforms.

Audio-Enhanced Technology Strengthens Community Building in the Online Classroom

By: Michele C. Weber, PhD and Mary Dereshiwsky, PhD

The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of students in an audio-enhanced online classroom. Online students who had participated in such a classroom experience were interviewed. The interviews were analyzed to explain the students’ experiences with the technology online and show how each student perceived the audio within the online classroom. One of the emergent themes was that the use of audio-enhancements in the online environment helps to build community and as a result promotes transformational learning.

*The papers reflect perspectives on current policy issues facing both K-12 and higher education and are not necessarily those reflected of the referees, or university.