Research Studies shut down

Research Studies shut down

Shari E (Year 12), Chief Contributor

  1. Only use key words. 
  2. Don’t click on the first link. 
  3. And above all else: DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA 

When it comes to researching, this is generally the list of rules that people stick to. For a society known to be so technologically competent, we sure do lack a basic knowledge of anything above how to load blocked games on school wi-fi. 

Last year, I took the one-unit class, Research Studies taken by Mr Fischer, and was surprised to find how little everyone in the class – myself included – actually knew about how to research. Over the course of the year, we got to investigate a topic of our own individual interest, forming and answering a question using the research skills we gained from the course. 

I chose to do a search into the differences between psychopaths and sociopaths, an area that I’ve always been curious about, but never had the chance nor the skills to be able to properly research an answer to. The skills that I learned from this weren’t just useful for this course, they also helped with my other classes, such as History and English Extension 2.  It helped not only with the researching element, but also with the planning. By the end of the course, we all had a research report on an area we were passionate about that we could be proud of. We really had come a long way from where we started in Term 1. 

Unfortunately, the Year 11 Class of 2022 was the last year to be offered the opportunity to go through this amazing course. Research Studies is what is known as a School Developed Board Endorsed course, which are courses written by the school that they believe would be of value to their students. It is then submitted to NESA for endorsement and if NESA approves it, then the course is allowed to be taught and the unit(s) count towards students’ Record of Achievement. Research Studies was first endorsed back in 2015 and it has, since then, been taught at WCC and many other schools that have seen the value of the course and shared our school’s ideology. The idea is that if one school gets a course endorsed, then any other school wishing to teach it, can do so and share the endorsement. Every few years, the course has to be re-endorsed by NESA. Miss Yule and Mrs Jarvis have had to submit all the documentation to NESA several times and have always received the re-endorsement. 

In 2021, NESA again sent word that all Board Endorsed courses would lose their endorsement at the end of 2022 and if schools wanted to continue to offer them, they had to fill in a new application and address new criteria. Miss Yule, the Head of Faculty for Research Studies, said that “I wasn’t worried because when I looked at the criteria, I thought Research Studies definitely met them all.” However, when NESA came back, they had rejected the endorsement, explaining that any courses which overlapped whatsoever with NESA courses would not and could not be endorsed. Apparently, as the course is teaching research skills, and research is a component of Stage 6 courses, Research Studies therefore could not be endorsed. 

Miss Yule and Mrs Jarvis argued that the course teaches the skills which students can then use on other Stage 6 course but doesn’t teach the actual content of these NESA courses. Research Studies is made to support students in their future studies by providing them with the proper skills needed for their Stage 6 courses, but it doesn’t actually explore any of the content. Unfortunately, the decision still stands, and Research Studies remains a recently deceased course.  

It was then up to the school to decide what would come next. They had the option of continuing to offer Research Studies as an unendorsed subject. However, it regrettably would not count towards a student’s mandatory 12 units and would only be available as an optional 13th unit that would not appear on their Record of Achievement. Basically, Research Studies would be an extra-curricular, which students could take with the only benefit being the skills they would gain. As a result, WCC has decided on an alternative: they are not going to offer the course at all. 

The disappointing choices and inconsistent decisions of NESA are nothing new to the staff and students of WCC, but this does not make the loss of such a great course sting any less. As a student that has taken the course, I can see the value in this subject and Miss Yule testifies that “I have never had a student regret taking it or learning the various skills” that the course has to offer. Unlike many of the other subjects students complain about, this is one that students have contacted Miss Yule post-school about to tell her “How much they appreciated all they had learnt in Research Studies because it has equipped them for university studies.” The standard upheld in that class has prepared me and all the other students who took it for Year 12, the higher schooling, and workforce beyond.  

Unfortunately, Miss Yule says that “At this stage I don’t know if WCC will ever offer the subject again. If we can get it endorsed again in the future, I hope we would, but I am not sure if there is any chance of NESA endorsing the course again.” 

I am so glad that I got the opportunity to go through this course and I know I speak for all those in the class when I say that I was greatly dismayed to hear it was discontinued, and even more so to hear the unlikely chance that it will return. Research is such an important part of school and most university courses, it’s a real shame to see such a well-equipped course be discontinued and I hope, despite the odds, that the school will see it re-endorsed in the future.