Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia
Changing quality assurance policies in Australia, and many other countries, have led to the articulation of broad, disciplinary standards. The Learning and Teaching Academic Standards project recently produced a set of standards for science in Australia, which highlight the need for science graduates to have quantitative skills (QS). Responsive curricula reform efforts to build QS in science have magnified the challenges associated with educational change, largely evidenced by research into academic beliefs, attitudes and teaching practices. The student voice, which should be a key requirement for understanding and informing reform efforts and the attainment of standards, has been largely neglected. This showcase proposal is situated within a broader, mixed methods research study exploring the QS of undergraduate science students over three years. Specifically, it will report on the longitudinal phase of the research where data were collected from students at four points in time through a mix of face-to-face interviews, and asynchronous online open-ended questionnaires. To illuminate the heuristic nature of individual stories, a narrative inquiry approach was adapted within an analysis framework built on the work of Barnett and Coates (acting-knowing-being), Barton (vision-philosophy-orientation-role) and Snyder (hidden curriculum). This study attempts to demonstrate how the student perspective can contribute (1) to our understanding of how curricular interactions can influence student learning, and (2) to our efforts to improve undergraduate curricula in a manner that directly facilitates student achievement of our desired standards and quality learning outcomes.