• Class Number 7188
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Joanna Sikora
    • AsPr Joanna Sikora
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

This course examines recent cultural and institutional changes in school environments at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. The topics will include theoretical approaches to education, a socio-historical examination of the development of education systems, the relationship between education and the economy, including the debate over neo-liberalist reforms emphasising students’ performance testing. Other issues discussed will include the role of the state and transnational agencies in shaping educational policy, critical approaches to literacy and numeracy, youth subcultures within schools and the challenges facing teachers.

All topics will be treated in a comparative perspective, although the Australian context will receive considerable attention. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. evaluate the leading themes in the research on education as an institutional system, the locus of social inequality, and the socialization process. This includes empirical research about students, teachers, and parents as well as the role of national and global organizations that regulate the provision of education;
  2. identify and interpret theoretical concepts that inform the sociological study of formal and informal education;
  3. construct a written argument applying theoretical concepts; and
  4. conduct a small research project involving either focus groups or content analysis.

Research-Led Teaching

The students will design and carry out their own research projects in the sociology of education. Each project must be informed by the course literature.

Required Resources

The readings and course materials will be available in Wattle

Connell, R., Welch, A., Vickers, M., Foley, D., Bagnall, N., Hayes, D., . . . Campbell, C. (2013). Education, Change and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press. or

Welch, A., Connell, R., Mockler, N., Sriprakash, A., Proctor, H., Hayes, D., ... & Groundwater-Smith, S. (2017). Education, change and society. Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class via the Course Noticeboard

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Educational Access Plans

Students who have been issued with an Educational Access Plan by Access and Inclusion Services, are requested to email a copy to the course convenor and their tutor as soon as they receive it. In all relevant communication, students need to remind their instructors about their EAP. Please include a copy of the EAP in each request for an extension made via Wattle. Students with EAPs do not get automatic extensions, even when their EAPs explicitly mention quizzes. It is best to make an appointment to discuss each EAP to avoid misunderstandings.

Missed class policy

Students who have a medical certificate to excuse their absence from class, and wish to make up participation credit need to email their certificate to the course convenor along with evidence of completed tutorial or lab activities. Students whose circumstances prevent them from timely completion of other course activities can apply for extensions, but these will be granted on a case-to-case basis.

Keeping track of marks and avoiding submission mishaps

Students will see their marks as they appear in their Wattle grade book. They must check their record and notify the course convenor within two weeks about any errors. It is the students’ responsibility to retain a copy of their submitted homework, which must be presented in any dispute with the instructors.

International and culturally diverse students

The University offers special assessment arrangements for Students from Language Backgrounds other than English. If students wish to utilise them, they need to follow the steps outlined in https://policies.anu.edu.au/ppl/document/ANUP_004603 The course convenor can answer questions about this policy but students must first read Sections 29 through 32.  


The course convenor assumes that each student can utilise one three-day extension either for Assignment 1 or 2. Students must apply for an extension via https://cass-seo.anu.edu.au/ and they will be granted their first three-day extension without any documentation. This provision allows for dealing with unexpected circumstances such as a change in work schedule, brief illness etc. The extension will not be split. The second extension will only be given in case of severe adversities or health problems. Should they occur, documentation will be required. No retrospective extensions will be granted. 


Instructors will be happy to offer individual consultations to discuss, clarify or expand on any issues in the course organisation, delivery or material. However, instructors cannot help a couple of days before an assignment is due, so please schedule a meeting at least a week in advance. Instructors will not provide comments on assignment drafts.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture 1: What does this course involve? Content, structure and assessment Lecture 2: Sociology of education: why sociologists keep talking about educational inequalities? Tutorial 1
2 Lecture 3: Global standardisation in education: is McDonaldization unavoidable? Lecture 4: Micro- and macro- sociologies of education - how much about individuals and how much about institutions? Tutorial 2
3 Lecture 5: Doing research in the sociology of education: the criteria for competent research Lecture 6: Focus groups and content analysis in sociology of education Tutorial 3 Quiz 1
4 Lecture 7: Teaching as a profession: pathways, prestige and burnout Lecture 8: Alternatives: home education and learning through technology Tutorial 4
5 Lecture 9: Debating private versus public schooling Lecture 10: The nexus between teaching and parenting: school choice Tutorial 5 Assignment 1: Research proposal Quiz 2
6 Lecture 11: Indigenous Australians and the education system Lecture 12: Migrant students when ethnicity enhances and when it hinders educational success Tutorial 6
7 Lecture 13: Academic assessment and standards Lecture 14: Curricula: who decides what is to be taught Tutorial 7 Quiz 3
8 Lecture 15: Is there a "boy problem" in education? Lecture 16: Why gender segregation persists in science Tutorial 8
9 Lecture 17: Gender diversity in education Lecture 18: Sex education Tutorial 9 Quiz 4
10 Lecture 19: Family and cultural capital Lecture 20: Concerted cultivation and the accomplishment of natural growth Tutorial 10
11 Lecture 21: Academically adrift: what is the future of university education? Lecture 22: Remote learning in the pandemic: the learned lessons learned and the emergent questions Tutorial 11 Assignment 2: Research report Quiz 5
12 Lecture 23: The role of technology: is progressing automatisation our fate? Lecture 24: Life-long education: modern society and the ideology of life-long learning Tutorial 12 Quiz 6

Tutorial Registration

Tutorial registration will open in Wattle on 12 July 2021

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Assignment 1: Research Proposal 20 % 24/08/2021 07/09/2021 3, 4
Assignment 2: Research Report 40 % 19/10/2021 * 3, 4
6 quizzes of one hour duration 30 % * * 1,2
Tutorial participation 10 % * * 1,2

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Students must meet all learning objectives to pass the course. For tutorial participation credit group work during tutorials will be required. Completing solely the tutorial activity without partaking in class does not qualify as participation. Weekly readings must be completed before classes.


This unit does not involve examinations.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 24/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 07/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4

Assignment 1: Research Proposal

Each student will design and carry out a research project to their own design. A research proposal is a description of the planned research. It is presented in a format of an academic paper with a list of references formatted using the American Sociological Association's formatting style. To format references, students can use the Endnote software and its American Sociological Review's style. Papers submitted on time will be returned within two weeks. The late submission penalty is 5% per working day. Detailed guidelines will be available in Wattle. The word limit is 1500 words with 10% leeway. Appendices are excluded from the word count. Everything else is included.


Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 19/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4

Assignment 2: Research Report

Taking on board the feedback received, students will carry out their research project and write up its results in a research report presented in a manner modelled on an empirical academic article in the sociology of education. The required referencing style is Americal Sociological Review. Papers submitted on time will be returned within two weeks. The late submission penalty is 5% per working day. Detailed guidelines will be available in Wattle. The word limit is 2500 words with 10% leeway. Appendices are excluded from the word count. Everything else is included.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

6 quizzes of one hour duration

Quizzes will be open every second week, beginning from Week 3. They will involve some multiple-choice questions and some short answer questions. Quiz questions will refer to the content of lectures and the required readings. Each quiz will open at 8 am on Monday and close at 8 am on the following Monday. Quizzes, once closed, normally will not be reopened. Each quiz is worth 5%.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Tutorial participation

Tutorial participation involves attending the tutorial and completing a group tutorial activity either during the tutorial or in the specified timeframe after the tutorial, usually within 24 hours. The details of tutorial activities will be in Wattle. The course involves 12 tutorials. Each student can earn a maximum of 10% of course credit at the rate of 1% per tutorial.


Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded. OR Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Feedback will be made available in Wattle. Students will be notified via the Wattle Course Noticeboard about the availability of feedback and how to access it.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Students normally will not be able to resubmit assignments.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
AsPr Joanna Sikora

Research Interests

Educational gender segregation, i.e. processes that enhance the concentration of men and women in different fields of study; with a special interest in gender and science

Role of adolescent aspirations and expectations in adolescent and adult life outcomes

Influence of heritability and parental background in shaping educational and occupational pathways of youth and adults with a special interest in the effects of scholarly culture i.e. exposure to books in childhood and adolescence

AsPr Joanna Sikora

Wednesday 16:00 17:00
Wednesday 16:00 17:00
AsPr Joanna Sikora
6125 4574

Research Interests

AsPr Joanna Sikora

Wednesday 16:00 17:00
Wednesday 16:00 17:00

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