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Teacher, parent and student differences concerning curriculum objectives : the physical education case Hunt, Edmund Arthur

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to investigate the condition of agreement-disagreement concerning the ranked importance of secondary school curriculum objectives as perceived by teachers, parents and students. The methodology by which this was accomplished was to be tested by an intensive examination of the objectives of one subject at one particular level of curriculum formulation and selection. The curriculum objectives of physical education, a subject typical of public schools, were identified and presented to groups of teachers, parents and students. The objectives were ranked for their importance to the welfare of the students at the member school. The respondents were selected from school communities of high, medium and low occupational status and were instructed to rank physical education objectives according to importance by using a "forced choice" Q sorting technique. The results were analyzed in order to determine the extent of agreement-disagreement between groups identified by school role, school location, occupational status, sex and grade. It was concluded that the methodology followed in this study could identify physical education curriculum differences between teacher, parent and student groups. No reason was apparent why this methodology could not be used to examine the department objectives of other subjects within a school. It was found that all groups placed physical education as a subject in a position of middle importance relative to the total school program. As to the ranking of the twenty physical education objectives, it was found that school role (teacher, parent, student) was the most powerful discriminator between group preferences. This factor identified eleven important ranking differences between the groups. School location (west and east) identified the locus of two important rank differences. Occupational status (I, II, III) identified one important rank difference. The student group was divided by sex and grade (eight and eleven). The results showed important rank differences between the sexes on five of the twenty objectives. There were three important ranking differences between the grade levels. The agreement between groups, divided by school location, showed that western teachers agreed with western parents on nineteen of the objectives. These same teachers agreed with western students on sixteen objectives. Eastern teachers agreed with eastern students on the rank order of sixteen objectives and agreed with the eastern parents on only fifteen of the twenty. These mixed results cast doubt upon the possibility that teachers, under the freedom of the first stages of curriculum decentralization, were consistently meeting the preferences of their clients.

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