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Durham e-Theses
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A case study on exploring the motivation and engagement of the
less academically inclined students in a
Specialised School in Singapore

SIEW-KIM, ONG (2018) A case study on exploring the motivation and engagement of the
less academically inclined students in a
Specialised School in Singapore.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Background: The case study school (CS School) a specialised secondary school that has small class sizes of 20 students, selected teaching staff and a curriculum with 40% devoted to character education and 60% to literacy-numeracy and vocational subjects.
Aim: To what extent are cognitive behavioural changes used to negotiate environmental demands for academic engagement after three to four years of CS School schooling.
Samples: 152 enrolled freshmen (at entry-point) and 134 graduating students (at exit-point); 11 class teachers from each student cohort (n=22).
Method: Using a predominantly quantitative approach, students answered the MES-HS instrument that measured the motivation and engagement factors, and Academic Buoyancy questionnaire that measured daily academic coping. Class teachers answered the Teachers’ perceptions of student motivation and engagement and Teachers’ enjoyment of teaching questionnaires. Data from students’ and teachers’ surveys were correlated with graduating students’ Youth EQi: YV™ scale scores (exit-point & entry-point data).
Results: No significant difference between freshmen versus graduating students on motivation and engagement factors and academic coping scale. Class teachers indicated that their graduating students were significantly more self-efficacious than class teachers of freshmen. The boys coped significantly better than girls. Students with repeated failure at a high-stakes examination were significantly more stressed and scored significantly lower on EQi adaptability and general mood scales than students who failed the examination once. EQi scale item of stress management was correlated positively to mastery orientation at learning and negatively to uncertainty control, self-handicapping and disengagement; intrapersonal scale was reciprocally correlated to uncertainty control; adaptability, general mood and interpersonal scales were positively correlated to self-belief, valuing school, mastery orientation and time/task management. Students’ mastery orientation at learning, persistence and avoiding failure scores were correlated with teachers’ enjoyment of teaching. Subtle layers of differentiated motivation and engagement scores contextualised by the different ethnic groups were noted.
Conclusion: Students’ success at controlling stress correlated with EQi adaptability, general mood and interpersonal scales that were associated with self-efficacy, valuing school, mastery orientation in learning focus and time management. A model of motivating the less academically inclined students to being engaged with schooling following a temporal learning process of sustained stress control and classroom engagement is proposed. 

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Keywords:less academically inclined;examination failure; educational psychology; EQi; teachers'perceptions; MES-HS; motivation; engagement; self-regulatory; planning; academic coping; monitoring; engagement model; convergence EQi-motivation-engagement; fear of failure
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 May 2018 11:05

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