The Gonski report (2011) recognised that, “Ensuring that all Australian children, whatever their circumstance, have access to the best possible education and chance to realise their full potential can also be considered the moral imperative of schooling (p. 105), and that “Research and data confirm that there are five factors of disadvantage that have a significant impact on educational outcomes in Australia. At the student level these factors are socioeconomic status, Indigeneity, English language proficiency, and disability. At the school level, remoteness is demonstrated to have an impact on student outcomes” (p. 111).
Assessment Task (2): Major research essay – Researching educational disadvantage
Activity: Major research essay (1,500 words +/- 10%) via Turnitin
Value: 50 marks
Select ONE of the factors of disadvantage listed below and discuss critically the way it impacts on educational access, experience and outcomes in Australia, using research evidence to support your discussion. Critically evaluate key measures that have been put in place to mitigate this disadvantage.
- Refugee or humanitarian status;
- Indigeneity; or
- Rural/remote location.
Your research essay should consider and address the following:
Briefly define the key terms of equity and equality (5% of overall mark);
- Identify your selected disadvantage factor and using relevant research and data clearly establish the disadvantage factor (10% of overall mark);
- Discuss and critically assess how this factor of disadvantage impacts educational access, experiences and outcomes in Australia (15% of overall mark);
- Critically evaluate what measures have been put into place to mitigate the disadvantage and its impact on equity in Australian education (15% of overall mark);
- Summarise the key findings of your selected disadvantage factor and its impact on educational outcomes and equity (5% of overall mark);
- Devise a suitable, indicative title for your essay.
The purposes of the task
This assignment provides you with the opportunity to:
Demonstrate understanding of disadvantage in education;
Demonstrate your ability to structure an essay and develop an argument;
Evaluate relevant educational issues and concepts;
Analyse and engage with appropriate academic material; and
Demonstrate your ability to locate material using databases and to reference effectively.
Rubric assessment items
You will be rated on your ability to:
Devise a suitable title for your essay
Locate suitable research material – minimum of 5 required (see Notes)
Use academic research and data to clearly establish the disadvantage factor
Develop a clear and coherent discussion of the impact of factors of disadvantage and measures put in place to mitigate this disadvantage supported by reference to relevant research
Demonstrate understanding of academic writing conventions
- Paragraphing, sentence structure, and spelling
- APA style referencing
Notes for Assessment Task (2) Major research essay:
The Review of Funding for Schooling (Gonski et al, 2011), often referred to as the Gonski report, sought to establish a new means of calculating the allocation of funding for schools. The funding model, the schooling resource standard, proposed an amount of funding per student and additional loadings to recognise the additional costs of meeting certain educational needs. “These loadings would take into account socioeconomic background, disability, English language proficiency, the particular needs of Indigenous students, school size, and school location” (Gonski et al, 2011, p. xvi).
For this task you are expected to consider the link between education and disadvantage. You should focus your research (from academic literature) on ONE particular factor of disadvantage to avoid your discussion being too general, but note this is not an invitation to simply write about a disadvantaged group. Students should aim to make an argument in their essays rather than just presenting information about the issue chosen. Giving your research essay a brief descriptive title will also help to focus the essay. APA style formatting and referencing must be used.
The marking of this essay, as indicated in rubric and marking criteria, focuses on discovering what other researchers have discovered when looking at this topic. For this assessment you are not to interview principals, teachers, or students.
The research for this task must involve using electronic database searches to locate suitable academic literature, but other relevant material may also be used. Assistance with database searching is available from the MQ Library and MQ Skills Development site (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/skills-development).
Suitable academic literature includes articles in refereed journals, research reports and academic texts. For this research essay you are expected to cite at least five pieces of recent academic literature from at least two research databases.
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