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Students, teachers and parents' perceptions of a year 9 accelerated program
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posted on 16.02.2017by 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
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
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