Combined classes - not coeducation: An evaluation of the shared subjects scheme between St Joseph's and St Mary's Colleges
This report presents a case study evaluation of a shared subjects scheme presently being conducted by two single -sex Catholic colleges, St Mary's and St Joseph's. The evaluation took place between the months of July and October, 1993.
The sharing of subjects between the two colleges began in 1992. The participants in this study were four Year 12 classes, the first students to complete two years of the scheme, and four of their teachers. Within the classes six boys and six girls were "targetted". The focus of the evaluation was an analysis of the attitudes and beliefs of the students and teachers as they related to the areas of teaching methodology and practices, subject content, discipline, relationships between the sexes and the classroom environment. The Year 12 students were surveyed and their classes observed, with additional data being obtained from the twelve students through interviews and journals. Their teachers also were surveyed, observed and interviewed. At the request of the St Mary's Administration, the Year 11 students were surveyed, and the results of this survey, plus those of their teachers , were included in the report.
The overall conclusion of the study was that the shared subjects scheme should continue, but with modifications. The findings reflected two levels of concern. The first related to the basic day-to-day functioning of the scheme. Issues raised by both teachers and students included the time lost in travelling between the two schools, the failure of "normal" teacher - student relationships to develop, and problems arising from insufficient communication between the two schools.The second involved the subtleties and complexities of relationships, whether between student and teacher, or student and student. Perceived differences in attitude and behaviour between the sexes were the most influential factors in these relationships. Of particular relevance was the sense of "ownership" which the girls felt for their college, and their perceptions of the boys as "intruders". Differing expectations as to what was appropriate behaviour were also source of conflict between the boys and the girls. Changes in the teachers' persona and practice due to the classes becoming coeducational were viewed unfavourably by the students in both schools.
At the conclusion of the evaluation a report was presented to the Administration Teams of both of the colleges. On the basis of the recommendations made in the report, major changes were made in the implementation of the shared subjects scheme in 1994. These included an orientation program for students, changes in timetabling to reduce the amount of time lost in travelling, a widening of the shared curriculum to include more "non-traditional" subjects, and increased "advertising" concerning the sharing of subjects between the two schools.
PublisherCentral Queensland University
Place of PublicationRockhampton, Qld
SupervisorDr John Watts
- Master's by Coursework Thesis
- With publication