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Deep exploration of student attainment and retention: Keeping students in education beyond Year 10 in Tasmania


Smith, CJ and McLeod, CJ, Deep exploration of student attainment and retention: Keeping students in education beyond Year 10 in Tasmania, Proceedings of the 2016 Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, 27 November - 1 December 2016, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-16. (2016) [Refereed Conference Paper]


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In Tasmania, levels of student attainment and the related concept of retention are the lowest of any Australian state. Attainment is characterised as a wicked and seemingly intransigent problem where there are no quick fixes and simple solutions, and hence are beyond the capacity of a single organisation to address adequately. Navigation of wicked problems such as attainment calls for interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches. This paper presents frameworks derived from Integral Theory (Riedy, 2016) and Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) (Inaytullah, 2004) which provide useful tools to explore the attainment space from deeper and more nuanced perspectives that go beyond the usual deficit approaches and hence have the potential to open up novel spaces for considering attainment in the context of 21st century education.

Integral Theory proposes four irreducible perspectives of reality, two of which have almost entirely excluded from academic discourse. Exclusion of any perspective results in only partial, and fragmented understandings and ineffective solutions and policy. CLA contends there are four levels of reality and ways of knowing: the litany and the systemic; then the deeper intersubjective cultural dimensions of worldview/paradigmatic commitments and myths and metaphors that frame the way sense is made of the issue, often unconsciously. The IT framework has been applied to review reports, documents and academic literature on attainment to reveal hidden or unanticipated factors, which have a bearing on attainment, particularly at the worldview and mythic levels.

The paper concludes that by using both frameworks, a tool can be developed that reveals paradoxes, gaps and dilemmas that may open up potential new directions for creating deeper transformative spaces for addressing the achievement of educational attainment.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education systems
Research Field:Education systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Learner and learning
Objective Field:Learner and learning not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Smith, CJ (Dr Caroline Smith)
UTAS Author:McLeod, CJ (Dr Catriona McLeod)
ID Code:125085
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2018-03-27
Last Modified:2018-04-04
Downloads:38 View Download Statistics

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