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- Volume 22, Issue 1, 2008
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 22, Issue 1, 2008
Volumes & issues
Volume 22, Issue 1, 2008
Author B.J.J. LombardSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1029 –1043 (2008)More Less
One of the cornerstones peculiar to the outcomes-based approach adopted by the South African education and training sector is the so-called 'critical outcomes'. Included in one of these outcomes is the ability to think critically. Although this outcome articulates well with the cognitive domain of holistic development, it also gives rise to some concern.
One area of concern deals with cultivating learners' critical thinking skills. Research indicates that these higher order thinking skills are unlikely to develop simply because of maturation and that they are notoriously difficult to teach and learn.
In two independent studies, the Cornell Critical Thinking Test - Level Z and the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal were administered to gauge the critical thinking abilities of teacher education students. The research results obtained from the two studies will be briefly discussed as evidence that there is a dire need to nurture learners' critical thinking abilities.
The concept learning-oriented assessment (LOA) will be interrogated and it will be indicated how LOA could possibly contribute in developing students' critical thinking skills.
Reporting effect sizes as a supplement to statistical significance testing in reading instruction studiesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1044 –1058 (2008)More Less
The far-reaching effects of literacy achievement have heightened the interest of educators and non-educators alike in the teaching of reading. Successful efforts to improve reading achievement emphasise identification and implementation of evidence-based practices that promote high rates of achievement. Behind the concept of evidence-based instruction lies the notion of scientifically valid and replicable research that can help educators make effective choices. The purpose of the article is to review the statistical significance reporting practices in reading instruction studies and to provide guidelines for when to calculate and report effect sizes in educational research. A review of six readily accessible (online) and accredited journals publishing research on reading instruction indicated that researchers / authors rely very heavily on statistical significance testing and very seldom, if ever, report effect size measures when documenting their results.
Author R.J. SinghSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1059 –1069 (2008)More Less
Academics are viewed as one of the agents through whom the university classroom can be reinvented. With recent changes in higher education policies, the concept of the university classroom is undergoing change. This article explores the various aspects that make up the university classroom : the physical space, the resources available, the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and the type of intellectual activity that takes place within the classroom. In order to bring about radical change in the university classroom, areas that need to be prioritized include employment of highly competent staff, innovative programmes and responding to the needs of the marketplace and the community. I also examine some practical yet radical changes that can stimulate change.
Author D.F.M. StraussSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1070 –1087 (2008)More Less
Before a meaningful account can be given of scholarly communication an investigation of the nature of analytical skills is required - the aim of this article. It sets out to come to terms with the meaning of analysis by showing that it rests on two mutually cohering features, namely identifying and distinguishing. Since identification implies that multiple features are united and since these traits are not only universal but ultimately indefinable, it is argued that synthesis (identification) is not opposed to analysis but to the other 'leg' of analysis, namely distinguishing. Since identification is nothing but the capacity we have to forms concepts, the nature of concepts is explained in more detail. Moreover, analysis is not simply constituted by acts of dividing (setting apart), although it cannot reveal its meaning apart from its coherence with the numerical awareness of the one and the many and the original spatial meaning of a whole with its parts. Since the discipline of mereology, as a study of the whole-parts relation, involves modern (mathematical) set theory it is argued that sets are not purely arithmetical for they are, as Kurt Gödel said, quasi-spatial. Acknowledging the uniqueness of number and space alongside their mutual coherence serves to illustrate what a non-reductionist ontology means. This digression opens up the possibility to illustrate the nature of analytical skills by arguing that the arithmeticistic claims of modern set theory begs the question (it assumes what it wants to conclude) owing to the underlying antinomy present in its attempt to explain spatial continuity exclusively in numerical terms. This is done on the basis of briefly highlighting conflicting schools of thought within a number of natural sciences and humanities (by and large instantiating ismic orientations opting for a monistic perspective). Explaining briefly the equally intrinsically antinomic nature of modern historicism prompted the plea for a non-reductionist ontology as one of the most important guidelines for the enhancement of critical analytical skills. A brief reference is made to the requirement of critical solidarity, immanent critique, factual critique and the importance of critically unveiling the theoretical paradigm of a thinker as well as the ultimate commitment directing the thought of such a thinker.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1088 –1096 (2008)More Less
Transformation of South African education has had profound systemic effects. Various constraints have led to inconsistent policy implementation, which have contributed to the underpreparedness of students for higher education. Internationally, the complex transition from school to university has highlighted the need for new approaches to orientation. Within this context the University of the Free State evaluated its three-week orientation programme. The aim was to assess if the current approach provided the best transition to prepare students for higher education. Results of the mixed methods design indicate students are inadequately prepared and highlights what steps are being taken to create a new programme.
Citation analysis of theses and dissertations submitted at the Tshwane University of Technology : 2004-2006Author A.J. SwanepoelSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1097 –1113 (2008)More Less
What types of information sources do masters and doctoral (M and D) students at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) use most, how do the patterns of use differ across subject disciplines and faculties, and to what extent does the Library and Information Services (LIS) keep or provide access to the journals that are mostly used by M and D students? To answer these questions the researcher applied citation analysis as a research tool to analyse the reference lists of 316 theses and dissertations submitted by M and D students and accepted by TUT from 2004 to 2006. Some of the findings were that M and D students are far greater users of paper-based information than of electronic information sources. Over time there was a gradual increase in Web citations but not as much as one would have expected. Web citations therefore had no real impact on the composition of reference lists. M and D students in the social sciences and humanities clearly use books most. They also use journals far less than students in the fields of science, engineering and technology. Across all faculties and disciplines the majority of journals were only cited once over a period of three years. However, a small percentage of journals were highly cited and / or frequently cited. This confirms the outcome of other citation studies : A small number of journals generate the majority of journals cited. The findings will assist the LIS to make informed decisions regarding which information resources to make available to M and D students and thus enabling TUT libraries to make the transition to support more advanced research.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1114 –1125 (2008)More Less
Quality assurance in higher education has a bearing on the policies, systems and processes directed at ensuring the quality of education provision in an institution (HEQC 1996, 14). To ensure a striving for excellence in academic programmes in a Faculty, to determine the extent to which this striving is achieved and to promote development and improvement, a project for programme evaluation was initiated, geared at designing a mechanism to be used in academic programme self-evaluations, but which will also be suitable for preparations for external evaluations and can serve as a premise for planning and development actions to improve programme quality.
For the purpose of this project, quality assurance is labelled by the integration of methods, thinking and approach, that triangulates in a synergistic manner and inform the complexities and nuances of all core activities related to programme management and implementation, as well as quality management, namely quality control, evaluation, reflection, growth, development and enhancement, and planning.
A qualitative, explorative and descriptive design was employed. A study of quality assurance criteria for academic programmes was conducted, followed by the development of an evaluation mechanism with criteria and rubrics for evaluation.
Interviews were used as data collection method, with respondents from a variety of academic programmes country-wide, as well as experts in the area of academic QA. The final outcome of the project is a matrix-based mechanism indicating various levels of quality attainment, and providing guidelines for improvement. The instrument will be suitable for use in all academic programmes that strive to comply with the HEQC criteria for programme review.