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ÆSOP exceptional outcomes in science education

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Product Description

By Geoffrey Barnes, Debra Panizzon, John Pegg

Published: 2007
ISBN: 978-1-921214-14-1
Pages: 84
Imprint: Post Pressed


A module of the ÆSOP Series - An Exceptional Schooling Outcomes Program

By providing a supportive and nurturing environment, schooling contributes to the development of students' sense of self-worth, enthusiasm for learning and optimism for the future' (The Adelaide Declaration on National Goals for Schooling in the 21st Century).

Encouraging cohorts of students of varying abilities to achieve in science requires sustained and collaborative effort from students, parents, teachers and the senior executive in a school. By harnessing their energies to form a 'united front' based around shared goals and values the collective creates a learning environment that assists all students achieve their best.

While available research identifies the important contribution provided by each of these groups to the learning process, many of these studies overlook the subtle interconnections and complex interplay that exists in a 'working' school.

The findings from the study presented in this book address this latter point by exploring in a holistic manner the factors producing outstanding outcomes in science for low, middle and high achieving students. These emerged from thorough observations of classroom practice; intensive interviews with teachers, parents, principals, and students; and, detailed analyses of school and faculty documentation in six government high schools in metropolitan, rural and coastal regions of NSW.

Table of Contents


  • Why the ÆSOP study?
  • Educational and social advancement
  • Acknowledgements

An Exceptional schooling outcomes project

  • Chief Investigators/Project Team
  • Dimensions of Achievement and Success
  • Research Questions
  • Background Literature
  • Selection of Sites
  • Visits to Sites
  • Analysis of Data
  • This Report

Setting the context

  • Small Rural School (SRS)
  • Isolated Rural School (IRS)
  • Small School in Large Regional Centre (SSR)
  • Large Coastal School (LCS)
  • Large Rural School (LRS)
  • Large Metropolitan School (LMS)
  • Conclusion

Characteristics of science faculties achieving exceptional outcomes

  • Holistic Focus of School Environment
  • Culture and school climate
  • Leadership by the executive
  • Across-school policy and programs
  • Community endorsement
  • Faculty Organisation
  • Faculty Climate
  • Collegiality
  • Support for new and inexperienced staff
  • Enculturation
  • Catering for individual student differences
  • Grouping practices for students
  • Assessment practices
  • Faculty Resources
  • Stable core of experienced and committed teachers
  • Leadership
  • Teaching programs
  • Teaching space
  • Communal teaching resources
  • Teacher - Student Relationships
  • Shared expectations
  • Trust and respect
  • Wider community involvement
  • Impact on students
  • Teaching strategies
  • Engendering interest and enjoyment of Science
  • Lesson structure and organisation
  • Variety and type of tasks
  • Classroom management
  • Student engagement
  • Teacher Professionalism
  • Expertise and interest in Science
  • Reflective practices and goal setting
  • Professional development
  • Conclusion

Linkages and relationships

  • Commitment to Maximising Learning Outcomes for All Students
  • Commitment to the Faculty Group and the School
  • Interest in and Enthusiasm for Science
  • Experienced, Thoughtful and Reflective Teachers
  • High Standards and Expectations of Self and Students
  • Quality Pedagogy
  • Distributed Leadership
  • Conclusion

Conceptualisation and challenges

  • Adelaide Declaration
  • Schooling should develop the capacities of all students
  • Curriculum
  • Schooling should be socially just
  • Challenges for Schools
  • Destroying the Myths
  • Final Comment


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