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Title: Women re-entry students : an investigation into changes in their self-esteem
Author: Knightley, Wendy
ISNI:       0000 0001 3601 0970
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2002
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Successive governments’ desire for greater numbers of school leavers in Higher Education (HE) has been realised, with an unexpected rise in recent years in the number of mature or non-traditional student entrants in tertiary education. Women in particular have featured highly in this re-entry surge, especially to part-time learning or to the nonconventional, distance learning mode of study. At the same time, researchers in the field of education have begun to widen their understanding of the different experiences and needs of this unorthodox and heterogeneous student population, in order to help retain such students and offer advice regarding the further expansion of provision to this sector of the population. The aim of the current research is to investigate the personal rather than the academic benefits experienced by women re-entering education following a break of some years, and especially with regard to changes in self-perception and self-esteem. These latter concepts are indeed nebulous and both difficult to define and measure. This thesis examines different methodologies for investigating these entities, namely a Self Esteem Inventory, a Q sort, an Ideal Self Inventory and an Interview technique. The women students investigated in this thesis were all returning to education. Data from the main study implicated significant others and goal orientations in the shaping of women’s perceptions of self. They suggested that what had been observed in these re-entry students was the phenomenon of unpremeditated personal growth. An important finding was that positive personal benefits were experienced even by those students who withdrew part-way through their course of study. These have implications for the effective design of induction and other courses to suit the especial requirements of the non-traditional woman student.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Distance learning