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A Study of Graduate Students in an Astrophysics Bridging Year: Identifying Contradictions in a Complex System Documents

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A Study of Graduate Students in an Astrophysics Bridging Year: Identifying Contradictions in a Complex System 

written by Victoria Nwosu, Saalih Allie, Dedra Demaree, and Andrew Deacon

Black South African students who transfer from "Historically Black Universities" to the National Graduate Program in Astrophysics and Space Science at the University of Cape Town often struggle academically. While our previous studies focused on student epistemology and went some way towards understanding student under-performance it became clear that broader socio-cultural and systemic issues were playing critical roles. Using Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) as a theoretical perspective we (a) characterized the broader context as an Activity System and (b) identified the four main types of systemic contradictions as proposed by the theory.

Published January 24, 2013
Last Modified June 27, 2013