Students, teachers and parents' perceptions of a year 9 accelerated program

2017-02-16T02:47:52Z (GMT) by Owens, Kirsten
The purpose of this thesis was to explore the perceptions of Year 9 students in relation to their experiences in an accelerated program where students are grouped by ability in English, Mathematics and Classics/Latin, whilst attending mainstream subjects for the remainder of their learning. The case study utilised a mixed method research approach, with both quantitative and qualitative data being collected. A total of 58 Year 9 students completed an online survey focusing on their perceptions of class activities in their mainstream and accelerated classes. Part One of the student survey utilised Gentry and Gable's (2001) My Class Activities survey instrument, which measured students' levels of interest, challenge, choice and enjoyment. Part Two of the student survey, focused on students' experiences in regard to their experiences in the accelerated and ability grouped classes. The results are analysed by comparing accelerated and mainstream results, male and female responses. To add depth to the study, the teachers who taught in the accelerated program were asked to reflect on the program's objectives, their teaching practices and experiences in the program and parents of students in the accelerated program were asked to reflect on their perceptions of their child's experiences. The findings of this study were positive, students, parents and teachers perceived the accelerated classes to be more challenging than mainstream classes. Students' perceptions of their accelerated class activities in regard to levels of interest, challenge, choice and enjoyment were generally positive. The male students' perceptions of their accelerated classes were highly positive, whereas the female students indicated they were not as challenged by the accelerated classes, although the pace of the program provided challenge. The findings revealed that these students needed more informed support from the teachers to cope with the academic and personal challenges of the program and would have benefited from differentiation of the curriculum, allowing for more choice in their class activities. The study also found that more informed communication with parents would be positive for the program.