The history and development of mathematics examinations in New South Wales at the end of secondary schooling between 1788 and 2010

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This doctoral dissertation reviews the historical developments of education and mathematics examinations used in New South Wales at the end of secondary schooling from 1788 to 2010. A heuristic investigative process, using a manual application of quantitative content analysis was carried out. Time was used as an independent variable with an application of middle range theory to underpin the theoretical framework for this research. The hypothesis is that over an extended period of time, it would be reasonable to expect changes to the examination process due to the influence of factors such as historical and political events, curriculum developments, and changes in social values. The results indicate there was just one significant change identified in the early 1960s. Contrary to expectations, an analysis of the taxonomy of terms has shown that the majority of the questions were skills based and did not test logical thinking and reasoning. Apart from gender and racial equality, the style and the type of questions have not taken into account any other social changes. In view of the above the concluding chapter will suggest ways forward for educational research.
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