Graduate Student Symposium, Selected Papers 2006

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    A Phenomenographic Approach to Students' Alternative Conceptions of Electrical Circuits
    (2017-04-28) Luu, King
    This study examined the variety of alternative conceptions that students have regarding electrical circuits using a phenomenographic approach. Five graduate students completed a questionnaire and simple activity relating to electrical circuits. The questionnaire involved describing terms that are commonly covered in electrical circuits, and drawing a simple circuit involving a piece of copper wire, a battery, and a light bulb. Participants were then instructed to create a circuit using these materials and to describe the thoughts they were experiencing while completing this activity. These data formed the basis for a conversation style interview with the participants. A phenomenographic approach was then used to create an outcome space for these conceptions, which were organized into a hierarchy. It was found that every participant conceived his or her electrical circuit in a different way. Although the level of physics education may have influenced the way in which participants completed their circuits, the nature of activities that their instructors chose to present in class may also have shaped their descriptions of how the circuit worked, as did their own real-life experiences.
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    School Choice Connections Around the Globe and in Francophone Minority Communities in Canada: a Critical Reading of School Choice Literature
    (2017-04-28) Cotnam, Megan
    This article compares the tendencies that have been noted in academic literature at the international level as well as research regarding the particular school choices of Francophone families in minority settings in Canada. Research regarding school choice has focused primarily on parents' views. This literature can be divided into the following themes: the impact of parents ' socioeconomic status, parents' roles as consumers who "shop for schools and the marketing strategies used to recruit parents, the influence of school choice on student achievement, the role of culture and the importance of bilingualism. In other studies, school choice is presented as a family process by focusing on parents ' influence on a child's school choice and the importance of the student's friends' choices. Yet, students are rarely involved in studies focusing on school choice and so their voices are not often heard. This article highlights the need for more extensive research in Canada regarding student agency in school choice.
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    Giuding in Language Assessment: a Literature Review
    (2017-05-28) Sun, Youyi
    This paper reviews empirical studies in the field of language assessment on grading or scoring. Most of the reviewed studies have attempted to examine systematic effects on scoring of variables associated with teachers/raters for the purpose of score consistency and reliability. Following the measurement paradigm, these studies have generally taken a positivist approach and used primarily quantitative methodology. More recently, researchers have begun to pay increasing attention to teachers' grading practices in different contexts to explore the validity of classroombased assessment. This line of research interprets grading or scoring as a professional decision-making process, focusing on understanding teacher-raters ' grading or scoring practices in relation to broader educational, social and cultural contexts. Studies in this line of research have followed an interpretivism paradigm and employed primarily qualitative research methodology. This paper analyzes these two themes of research on grading/scoring in relation to two trends in language assessment: language performance assessment and assessment for learning, and discusses their significant implications for future research.
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    Current Status of Vocational Education in Ontario: the Exclusionary Outcomes of Marrying Vocational and Special Education
    (2017-04-28) Kajganich, Gillian
    The Government of Ontario 's universal student success initiative makes the claim that, through expanded programs, Ontario high schools are "changing to meet the individual needs of students and to help more of them succeed" (More Ways to Succeed, 2008, p. 2). Although it is up to each individual school board to determine the types of vocational and special education programming they provide, it is becoming increasingly common for Ontario 's vocational programming to be available only for students receiving special education. This paper explores how the ideas that drove the creation of vocational education in Ontario have become extremely disconnected from the current reality of vocational schools. Recent trends in high school programming are leading towards the marrying of vocational and special education two terms that are by no means synonymous. Through interviews and document analysis, this case study of one vocational high school highlights the current status of vocational education and illuminates how it has become linked to special education. This study also considers whether current practice in a vocational school that was originally founded on a vision of practical education for all is aligned with the current inclusionary model 's promise of equitable access to a variety of programs for all learners.