Policy and Curriculum Research in the Context of Change
Brown, N and Beswick, K, Policy and Curriculum Research in the Context of Change, The Future of Educational Research: Perspectives from Beginning Researchers, Sense Publishers, N Fitzallen, R Reaburn, and S Fan (ed), Rotterdam, Netherlands, pp. 3-11. ISBN 978-94-6209-512-0 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]
There is continual change in the education landscape in response to both public and political agendas. In the early 1990s, Simon Marginson noted that "the politics of education are changing and volatile, with little consensus on some issues"(1993, p. 3). This remains the case, with education policy highly politicised, and the results of this playing out in inevitable cycles for state-funded education systems, and other education stakeholders. In Australia, the past 20 years have seen major changes in curriculum for the compulsory years of schooling. These have encompassed development of outcomes based curricula (Donnelly, 2007), Essential Learnings curricula (Luke, Matters, Herschell, Grace, Barratt, & Land, 2000; Department of Education, Tasmania, 2002; Townsend & Bates, 2007), and a recent return to national curriculum prescribed for disciplinary areas (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2012a). This latest curriculum development is part of a broader move to a national policy environment that, in addition to a national curriculum, features a national assessment program in literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN), national standards for teachers (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership [AITSL], 20lla), and national accreditation of teacher education programs (AITSL, 201lb). There has also been increasing attention given to the early years of schooling, including pre-school provision (Press, 2008). In the tertiary sector, a move to demand driven university places, and an emphasis on social inclusion reflected through a changed funding
model, has had implications for university entrance and pathways into and out of tertiary study (Bradley, Noonan, Nugent & Scales, 2008; Commonwealth of Australia, 2009). Public universities are increasingly seeking alternative sources of revenue to supplement and enhance state-based funding (Johnstone, 2004; Chung-Hoon, Hite, & Hite, 2005). In addition, university rankings have assumed increased importance in the context of a global market in higher education
(Marginson & Van der Wende, 2007).