An investigation into student self-perceptions of their approaches to study in further education
The thesis opens with a consideration and critical analysis of the theoretical bases influencing my early teaching, i.e. Piaget, Skinner and Rogers, which is, in a real sense, my personal and intellectual starting point. This leads to a review of pertinent literature which identifies some key concepts of teaching, learning and study approaches, i.e. Biggs's Study Process Questionnaire (SPQ)(1987), Honey and Mumford's Learning Styles Questionnaire (LSQ)(1986), and Buzan's ideas on such study techniques as mind-mapping. The Q-sort, an approach devised by Stephenson (1953) and used by Rogers to assess growth and change in a client's self-esteem, is then adapted and used as a basis for the empirical investigation in this thesis. This technique is used to elicit information from further education students about their individual, and unique, ideas on their approaches to learning. Inferences about the data collected from the first cohorts (the 1996-8 'A' level and 1997-9 GCSE students) result in further refinements to the Q-sort for its administration with the second cohorts (the 1997-9 'A' level and 1997-8 GCSE students). Students' Q-sorts, combined with lecturer predictions of examination outcome, will be concurrently validated by comparing them with SPQ and LSQ scores to establish concurrent validity. Q-sort scores and lecturer predictions will also be compared with examination grades actually achieved, to establish predictive validity. The thesis closes by drawing defensible inferences from the data and presenting suggestions for further research and educational practice.