Success in teacher education : a comparative study of the factors affecting student success in teacher education programmes conducted through distance mode.
This thesis seeks to identify factors which affect 'seU-perceived success' among
graduate teachers taking courses at a distance and to apply the findings to the
development of a Sri Lankan distance taught teacher education programme.
Interviews with eight part-time PGCE students (UK) and discussions with the
PGCE and OUUK course co-ordinators together with knowledge of Sri Lankan
situation helped the development of two questionnaires (Teacher Education
Questionnaire I for students and II for tutors). Data were collected from the 564
0l!SL (PGDE) I 299 OUUK (Advanced Diploma) and 57 part-time PGCE
students and five tutors from each of the three programmes.
A series of factor analyses of 28 'agree- disagree' statements for the OVERALL
and the OUSL and OUUI< samples separately produced similar results and
allowed common scores to be calculated. These scores, together with data from
other items were then grouped into seven sets. Each set represented a possible
area of influence on 'seU-perceived success'. Discriminant analysis was used to
establish the major differences between the OUUI< and OUSL student
populations. The two populations only differed in terms of support systems
developed by the two institutions (OUUI< and OUSL). Both factor and
discriminant analyses provided evidence that the development of a common
model was possible in the understanding of 'self-perceived success'
(represented by items measuring overall satisfaction, course will give skills,
confident about passing and satisfaction with progress) among teachers taking
courses at a distance. Then, the seven sets were submitted to a series of
stepwise regression analyses to identify their importance in predicting 'seUperceived
success'. The order in which the seven sets of variables were entered
into the regression equation is as follows:
(1) Self-related Demographics (2) Family Factors (2) School-related Variables
(4) Study Time and Style of Study (5) Course-related Variables (6) Contact with
Fellow Students (7) Contact with Tutor.
The results demonstrated that all the seven sets of variables had a role to play
in predicting 'self-perceived success' with Course-related Variables playing the
strongest part. 'High transfer to practice', 'workload, level and methods suits'
and 'important to pass' were the best single predictors of 'self-perceived
success' but some variables related to tutor contact, contact with fellow
students, school, family and self and study methods also significantly
contributed either in the regression process (process model) or at the final stage
of the analysis (final model).
Separate analyses for the OUUK and OUSL samples confirmed. that seven sets
of variables counted in both populations. The contributions made by noncourse
factors in explaining 'self-perceived success' were more pronounced in
the OUSL than in the OUUK regression. Finally, on the basis of the major
findings of the study, suggestions for changes to the Sri Lankan PGOE
programme are made. It is suggested that 'self-perceived success' of the PGDE
students can be strengthened by various means, including improving the
applicability of the course, strengthening support for Teaching Practice,
promoting more and better student-tutor contact and student-student contact
and also, improving OUSL- school contact.