The project aims to set in context other research which has investigated the nature of under- and post-graduate quantitative method training, along with perceptions and practices of both students and teachers. Although a lot of research has been carried out at undergraduate level onwards, little attention has been given to the processes undertaken and perceptions being formed by students before they get to university. This project aims to discover if similar problems that are faced at undergraduate level, in terms of teaching and learning quantitative methods, are also found in A-level study.
This research primarily concerns the A-level curriculum. Following Prideaux’s (2003) conceptualisiation of curriculum, this includes how such curriculum is planned (by Govt and the relevant exam boards), how it is delivered (by institutions and teachers) and how it is experienced (by students). The study will address whether there is disparity between how social sciences are portrayed to students and how they are documented in curriculum documentation. Another disparity may occur between said curriculum(s) and how teachers understand and interpret this, as indicated with their following pedagogical practices. These factors are important in the extent to which they, along with efforts to promote quantitative methods, affect the experiences and choices of students at higher levels of study.
To investigate the relationship between school and university curriculum, several different sources of information will have to be sought. The curriculum will have to be mapped, in terms of how it is officially documented by exam boards and content providers, such as the Welsh Joint Education Committee (who are part funding this studentship), along with how it is actually practiced. A-level students’ and teachers’ experiences, perceptions and practices will have to be sought, through a sample based on a cross-section of courses using both a large survey and case studies. Similarly the experiences, perceptions and practices of those teaching quantitative methods and analysis at first year undergraduate level will be sought.
Selected recent publications
Hampton, J.M. (2012). The reporting of effect size in Educational Psychology literature. MMU Psychology Journal (Dissertations) UK accessible at http://www.did.stu.mmu.ac.uk/MMU_Psychology_Dissertations_UK/2012dissertations/LtoQ/Lancaster/