Towards academic excellence: a qualitative study of students, parents and teachers

Lesley Williams

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

High achieving individuals have long been of interest to academic research for the insights and perspectives they offer. The study reported in this thesis continues this tradition, exploring the conceptualisation and development of academic excellence from the perspective of high achieving school graduates, their parents and teachers. In keeping with the qualitative paradigm selected for the study the findings were generated from semi-structured interviews with participants; 22 school graduates who achieved a Western Australian tertiary entrance examination rank of 95 or above on a 100 point scale and their nominated supportive parents and teachers. Participants fit quite naturally into three sets of cases adding further depth to the process of analysis, which was conducted using grounded theory methods. The rich nature of the data in this study enabled the synthesis of participants understandings of academic excellence in the form of a definition, which, most strikingly, included a notion of universal access. Findings also included the synthesis of a criterion for supportive environments and models of key teaching and learning processes. In addition, findings from this study indicate potential for semi-structured interviews with school leavers, their parents and teachers to inform education research and practice. In summary, findings from this study are supportive of previous research while offering conceptual and practical contributions to the discourse on excellence in education.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2010

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