Learning and teaching academic standards for science: Where are we now?
Jones, SM and Yates, BF and Kelder, J-A, Learning and teaching academic standards for science: Where are we now?, Proceedings of the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, 2012, University of Sydney, Australia, pp. 105-109. ISBN 978-0-9871834-1-5 (2012) [Refereed Conference Paper]
This paper reports and reflects on the Science Learning and Teaching Academic Standards (LTAS) Project that was funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC). We discuss the tangible and non-tangible outcomes of the funded project, and report on how these are being implemented at the national level. We contend that the Science LTAS Project has catalysed the review, refinement and reinvigoration of science curricula at Australian universities, and is thus contributing to current debate on the challenges in adapting science education to meet the needs of society in the twenty-first century.
The LTAS Project was commissioned by the ALTC in response to the Australian Federal Government’s announcement that it intended to establish the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Authority (TEQSA) that would audit Australian tertiary institutions against five sets of academic standards, including learning and teaching standards. As a proactive strategic initiative, the ALTC funded this major project to demonstrate that disciplinary communities could work together to develop learning and teaching standards (defined as learning outcomes) and achieve endorsement and commitment to integrate those standards into educational practice. The underlying assumption was that a discipline-led, collegial approach would more likely produce an outcome that would be acceptable and usable by educators and aligned to employer and student needs (Ewan 2010). For each participating discipline in the LTAS Project, threshold learning outcomes (TLOs) would be defined in terms of the discipline-specific knowledge, skills and professional capabilities to be achieved by pass-level graduates.