Changes in tertiary science over the last decade

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Learning for an Unknown Future Vol. 26

July, 2003, 692 pages
Published by
Helen Mathews and Rod McKay
0 90 8557 55 8

This study has examined the changing face of tertiary science education at Flinders University, a modern Australian university. Student demographic data over the 1990s indicates an overall increase in student numbers, and a greater number of study options in terms of courses available. Little evidence was found to support the view that there was an increased diversity in the study body, nor that students are in some way less academically able than in the past. The major areas where the student population has changed over the decade is in increased participation by females and a substantial increase in international student enrolments. Perceptions by academic staff that today’s students are less academically able or in some other way ‘different’ are not well substantiated. These perceptions of difference may simply reflect a more demanding academic workload and a differing perception of the requirements for success in the new higher education environment. Differences in the students of today perhaps may reflect global changes in society and indicate that students entering higher education today are exposed to different experiences than students prior to the telecommunications revolution.

Key words: Science education; student demographics; student perceptions

Changes in tertiary science over the last decade

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Zeegers, P. & Klinger, C.