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Title: A qualitative study examining Ontario science curriculum policy from 1985 to 2008 : global influences, local political arenas and curriculum reform
Author: Bloch, Marietta
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 3926
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2014
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This qualitative study examines science curriculum policy making in Ontario, Canada over four different governments between 1985 and 2008. Each government released new curricula for school science. The purpose of this study was to explore influences that shaped the origins, processes and content of these government-mandated curricula. Since 1985, Ontario’s education reforms encompassed neoliberal trends for standards and accountability measures thereby transforming its education system into an auditable commodity. A policy cycle approach, adapted from Bowe, Ball and Gold (1992), and Vidovich’s (2003, 2001) modifications for macro, meso and micro levels of analysis, provided an analytical framework for this study. A trajectory approach was used to analyse science curriculum policy-making both within a government and to identify patterns, trends and actors across all governments. Document analysis, interviews and focus groups were chosen methods to understand the meaning of events, situations and actions of key actors and texts and to understand the contexts within which science curriculum policy was initiated and developed. Findings indicate that an interplay of global trends and local political arenas have influenced Ontario’s science curricula. Governments responded to the decrease of public confidence in education and the increasing demand for standards and accountability measures by reforming education and its curricula. The science curriculum policy documents reflected these reforms as over time they became more specific and were written as standards; however, the content is reflective of Cuban’s (1992, p.223) notion of the ‘historical curriculum’ in that each curriculum continued to exert influence on successive curricula thereby highlighting a tendency to continue with the traditional.
Supervisor: Race, Richard ; Mahony, Pat ; Troman, Geoff ; Alsop, Steve Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available