ESA504 Education Policy Analysis (8)

Where does this policy come from? What does it mean? How can I respond? What implications does this policy hold for teachers and educational leaders? This subject provides a framework to address these questions from which an understanding of education policy and its intended and unintended effects can be built. Given the increased scrutiny on educational systems to deliver solutions to political problems, this subject builds an understanding of the way that education policy problems are constructed, and the processes by which these policy problems come to influence the lives of teachers, students, parents and educational leaders. The structure of the subject encourages students to test the theories and tools introduced against cases in their regions, and apply these theories and tools to local and regional policy developments.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 1 (30)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: ESA504. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Education

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to outline different perspectives on the role and function of policy;
  • be able to describe typical policy problems associated with governing education in Modern Nationstates;
  • be able to describe the contextual assumptions of policy problems;
  • be able to identify and describe traditions in the analysis of education policy;
  • be able to describe, utilise and identify the limits of tools emanating from different education policy analysis traditions;
  • be able to identify and analyse changing trends in the application of education policy;
  • be able to categorise, analyse and critique historical and contextual changes in the development, application and uses of education policy;
  • be able to describe and analyse the operations of education policy from influence, text to practice;
  • be able to identify sites of action for different policy agents;
  • be able to utilise education policy literature to construct models that help in explaining the intended and unintended effects associated with the introduction of different education policies on educators, students, parents and education leaders;
  • be able to identify national and global trends in the adoption of education policy themes;
  • be able to utilise educational policy literature to analyse cases of policy development and implementation;
  • be able to describe the influence of the following themes on educational practice: globalisation; innovation; knowledge economy; contractualism; marketisation; social justice; mediatisation; and
  • be able to apply policy frameworks in the construction of policy texts and processes.


This subject will cover the following topics:

- Traditions The traditions topic covers foundational readings about educational policy, and draws heavily on philosophical, sociological, historical, political science and economic perspectives. This provides an introduction to the range of thinking about questions such as the following: What is education? Why is there a division between education and training? Why do nation-states provide educational and training services? What outcomes and values should education and training services be oriented towards? What should the limits be to the provision of educational and training services? - Problems The problems topic covers the types of problems that flow from particular disciplinary stances on educational policy. In a comparative manner, this introduces the consequences of particular disciplinary assumptions on the issues that count as problems. - Resources The resources topic collects together a range of analytic tools that have been used in education policy analysis, and contextualises them within particular problems and traditions. - Contemporary Issues The contemporary issues topic covers a selection of contemporary issues, and provides different analyses of these issues. Particular emphasis will be given to assessing and comparing policy associated with First Nation and Aboriginal Education in both the Canadian and Australian contexts. The impact of immigration, multiculturalism and socio-economic factors on education policy settings, internationally and specifically within both Canada and Australia, will also be examined. Within each of these topics, readings from different sectors and localities are alternated with theoretical or global readings, to illustrate the interplay between general principles and local policies in practice. There is an emphasis in this subject on understanding how educational policy trends reflect the influence of different underlying disciplines, and understanding the contextual factors that affect the local, national up-take of particular policy themes. Readings are therefore broad and competing interpretations of similar issues are presented to illustrate how policy traditions influence what counts as a policy problem.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.