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- Volume 20, Issue 4, 2006
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 20, Issue 4, 2006
Volumes & issues
Volume 20, Issue 4, 2006
Author L. Le GrangeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 367 –371 (2006)More Less
Author E.M. BitzerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 372 –390 (2006)More Less
Universities find it difficult to judge the teaching of academics and are reluctant to reward them on the basis of the scholarship of teaching. Continuing tension between teaching and research, in which research-based criteria usually take precedence, compounds this reluctance. Boyer's four-tiered scholarship model assisted the understanding of the complexities of academic work, while Glassick, Huber and Maeroff attempted to define standards for scholarly activity. Davis and Chandler, arguing that the issue of reward was over-emphasised and that insufficient attention was paid to the intrinsic motivational rewards of scholarly work, critiqued these attempts.
At one South African university the drive towards research is strong and the status of the scholarship of teaching has been compromised. Performance incentives are currently based solely on research ratings and outputs. One result that was duly noted as a staff concern was the perceived undervaluing of the status of teaching as a scholarly practice. This resulted in an investigation aiming at restoring the status of scholarly teaching. One element involved inquiry into the development of criteria and indicators to restore and promote the value of the scholarship of teaching. This article elaborates on this project, points to its complexities and suggests possible indicators to account for efforts in valuing teaching.
Author C.A. BohlmannSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 391 –418 (2006)More Less
Formative assessment in distance teaching is a complex issue, particularly when diverse students are involved. At Unisa many students from previously disadvantage backgrounds need to be accommodated in tertiary mathematics and science. However, many such students have limited entry-level mathematical knowledge and academic skills. This article focuses on an attempt to balance assessment methods that are feasible in distance teaching with those that have potential to bring about greater learning.
Author S. CassimSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 419 –432 (2006)More Less
To understand how much or how little progress is made in democratising higher education, an examination of transformation in the sector needs to be undertaken. Such an examination will reveal best practice, the sharing of which can move the process of transformation forward by inspiring those further beyond in the process. This article serves to fulfil that purpose. It comprises an assessment of equity and diversity in selected higher education institutions in the country that may be regarded as 'best practice'. The study focussed on the university as an equity employer and thus staff equity is examined. The article reports the South African component of a five-country study undertaken in late 2004.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 433 –448 (2006)More Less
A Biographical Questionnaire (BQ) has been used in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand since the mid-80s, to identify potential to succeed at university among applicants who have not met the requirements for automatic admission. As the key instrument in a special admissions process, the BQ's history and assumptions are discussed. Reflecting on the criteria used in reading responses to the BQ, the article argues that by allowing applicants to present themselves in the context of their own lives and engagement with schooling and disadvantage, the BQ is more likely to enable candidates to reveal the qualities necessary for success at university than other admission tests.
The idea of the African university in the twenty-first century : some reflections on Afrocentrism and AfroscepticismAuthor K. HorsthemkeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 449 –465 (2006)More Less
The idea of 'the African university' is usually accompanied by an emphasis on Africanisation of education, and of knowledge, on changing the demographic profile of student, staff and administrative bodies, educational syllabi and curricula, and the criteria for research activity and for throughput. The idea of 'Africanising' universities is frequently couched within a conception that is explicitly 'Afrocentric'. On the other end of the spectrum, doubts about the idea of 'Africanising' universities frequently give rise to a kind of 'Afroscepticism'. The net result has been a dialogical impasse between these two positions, each accusing the other of racial hegemonism. The valuable insights that characterise these different views need to be taken into account in order to arrive at a balanced perspective regarding African higher education in the twenty first century. Ultimately, however, neither Afrocentrism nor Afroscepticism provide a compelling framework for transformation of tertiary education. My own position, while rather critical of the Afrocentric project and of the idea of 'the' African university, stops short of a thoroughgoing scepticism. It is informed both by what might be called 'Afrorealism' and the cautious hope that Africa and her universities will flourish in the twenty first century, whether in spite or because of globalisation.
Higher education academics' satisfaction with their terms and conditions of service and their job satisfaction : a case studyAuthor K.J. MammenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 466 –477 (2006)More Less
This article originates from a research conducted at a Historically Disadvantaged Institution (HDI) in South Africa. Academics (those who teach) at higher education institutions (HEIs) are usually highly qualified personnel. Their satisfaction with the terms and conditions of service and the job satisfaction they derive from and through their work may affect their commitment to the quality of the services they offer. Qualitative research designs adopt the stance that those factors which the academics themselves regard as relevant and important must be given the focus rather than the researcher's pre-conceptions or a priori influencing what factors are important. The method employed to gather data was qualitative and this is a case study. The sample consisted of 28 academics who constituted 60 per cent of the members of academic staff in the Faculty of Science. Data were collected through one-to-one interviews. The freezing of salary increases which resulted in academics' effective income (due to inflation) being less than that in 1995 was identified as the major cause of dissatisfaction with the conditions of service. However, the data show that 61 per cent academics had either 'Above average' or better satisfaction with the terms and conditions of their service. The data also show that only 43 per cent academics had 'Above average' or better job satisfaction. The students being not serious or not working hard enough to succeed in their courses was identified as the major cause of job-dissatisfaction. Six factors were identified as those reducing both satisfaction with the conditions of service and job satisfaction. These were, uncertainty about the continuity of the institution; inefficiency or dissatisfaction with poor management and problems within the senior management staff of the institution itself; problems with financial administration, weak research support, unhappiness with lack of promotion opportunities and finally, high workload. It is suggested that on the national level, the management of other HEIs may also gauge the satisfaction of their academic as well as non-academic employees and specifically investigate the factors which either cause dissatisfaction or reduce satisfaction so that they can attempt to address the concerns raised through their studies. Each institution has its own context. The context and factors may vary between Faculties within the same institution, between different institutions and also between the various campuses of the same institution considering the post-merger higher education scenario.
Cultural activity, mathematics, and classroom instruction : taping local knowledge resources to enhance learningAuthor D.K.J. MtetwaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 478 –487 (2006)More Less
Current renewed interest in the epistemological, socio-cultural, and educational aspects of indigenous knowledge systems (IKSs) has also had some impact on research and practice in the area of mathematics education. Located in the intersection of culture, mathematics, and classroom learning, this position article proposes that the socio-cultural activities of a cultural group can offer potentially rich contexts for developing mathematical ideas. Ways of exploiting that richness for classroom instructional purposes within the relevant cultural setting are then explored. A framework for mathematizing such ethno-activity based contexts that could guide mathematics teachers wishing to use this resource is presented. The framework has three phases, namely, conceptual analysis of a relevant syllabus topic / concept, horizontal mathematization of an appropriate cultural activity, and vertical mathematization based on the second phase. The processes and expected outcomes in each phase are discussed in the article.
Author N.J. NdunaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 488 –502 (2006)More Less
Within the broad theoretical context provided by debates on the South African education reforms and the civic engagement agenda in higher education, this article focuses on service learning in higher education and portrays complex relationships between the service-learning office and different existing structures within and outside the University of Technology. The article argues that such a web of relationships could create confusion in terms of locating and managing service-learning in the university. The article demonstrates the interviewees' confusion with regard to an ideal location for service learning in a merged University of Technology, stimulates discussion and calls for guidance and sustainable partnerships between the university and government departments that are responsible for community development.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 503 –514 (2006)More Less
In this age of rapid information expansion and technology, statistics is playing an ever increasing role in education, particularly also in the training of social scientists. Statistics enables the social scientist to obtain a quantitative awareness of socio-economic phenomena hence is essential in their training. Statistics, however, is becoming increasingly problematic in its influence on the lives of social science students. Has statistics education of social science students evolved in order to keep pace with changes in modern society? This article examines the common trends in teaching statistics to social science students and then makes some suggestions that would potentially increase the social science graduate's appreciation for the power of statistics in their profession.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 515 –527 (2006)More Less
National policy in higher education requires higher education institutions to widen access to adult learners alongside other previously excluded groups, yet gives few indications as to how this should be done. The assumption seems to have been that broadening access is sufficient in itself. In this article we argue that it is possible to construct space for adult learners in higher education if institutions conceive of access in its broadest sense, that is, when access is explicitly linked to retention and throughput, and when learning is closely aligned to the changing context of higher education and the workplace. We use adult education and social learning theories to analyse an honours programme in Journalism and Media Studies where adult learners have flourished because access has been linked to learners' motivation, mindful adaptations to the curriculum, and support from the workplace.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 528 –546 (2006)More Less
In 2003 the University of Cape Town introduced an anonymous examination policy. This article reports on a study of the impact of the implementation of this policy on student performance. Comparisons of student results pre- and post policy implementation showed no evidence of negative or positive discrimination of students in the examination marking. Interviews with course conveners suggested however, that, irrespective of the policy, markers infer student identity from examinations and that these inferences can influence their assessment. The most commonly cited example was 'sympathetic marking', that is, assessors marking more generously if they infer a student to be educationally under-prepared. The article concludes that the implementation of this policy has had a limited impact on strengthening the validity of assessment results, but is likely to be retained given both staff and students' perceptions that the policy 'objectifies' the marking process.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 547 –562 (2006)More Less
Finding accurate predictors of tertiary academic performance, specifically for disadvantaged students, is essential because of budget constraints and the need of the labour market to address employment equity. Increased retention, throughput and decreased dropout rates are vital. When making admission decisions, the under preparedness of students necessitates that their potential cognitive abilities should be assessed rather than their current abilities. In predicting their academic performance, it is argued that conventional psychometric tests are less suitable for the selection of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, because they are a static measure of current abilities which gives no indication of the student's potential to learn when in an optimum environment. The predictive validity of the Potential Index Battery, the Learning Potential Computerised Adaptive Test and school-leaving results in selection, were determined by calculating the correlation of these measures with academic performance over the full duration of the students' studies. Statistically significant correlations were found, thus indicating that the learning potential test had higher predictive powers than static measures of cognitive ability and school-leaving results, in predicting future academic performance.