The Expectations Have It

  • Barry McGawEmail author
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 20)


A great deal is expected of education. For individuals, it is to ensure that they realise their full potential, in the process ameliorating the effects of social disadvantage. For nations, it is to raise their levels of ‘human and social capital’ to build successful knowledge economies.

Expectations are powerful, but they can be limiting as well as liberating.

I first saw this in the 1950s as a student in a differentiated secondary school system. The schools were comprehensive but contained separate academic, industrial, commercial and home economics streams that prepared students for quite different futures, including different points of departure from formal education. Many of those consigned to nonacademic futures, however, subsequently completed higher education qualifications.


  1. Artelt, C., Baumert, J., McElvany, N., & Peschar, J. (2003).Learners for life: Student approaches to learning. Results from PISA 2000. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  2. Committee Appointed to Survey Secondary Education in New South Wales (Chair: Dr H. S., Wyndham). (1957).Report of the Committee. Sydney, Australia: Government Printer.Google Scholar
  3. McGaw, B. (1992). Testing in education.Australian Psychologist,27, 1–11. [Presidential address to the Australian Psychological Society.]Google Scholar
  4. McGaw, B. (1997).Shaping their future: Recommendations for reform of the Higher School Certificate. Sydney, Australia: Department of Training and Education Co-ordination.Google Scholar
  5. McGaw, B., Warry, R. S., Varley, P. J., & Alcorn, J. (1976). Prospects for school leavers. In Australian Government Commission of Inquiry into Poverty.School leavers: Choice and opportunity. Canberra, Australia: Australian Government Publishing Service, pp. 33–116.Google Scholar
  6. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2001).Knowledge and skills for life: First results from PISA 2000. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  7. Rosenthal, R., & Jacobson, L. (1968).Pygmalion in the classroom. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  8. Terman, L. M., & Merrill, M. A. (1937).Measuring intelligence: a guide to the administration of the new revised Stanford-Binet tests of intelligence. London: Harrap.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting AuthoritySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations