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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/2610

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Title: Constructions of higher ability in two maintained and two independent schools
Author(s): Hamilton, Lorna C.
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This research is an exploration of constructions of ability, especially `greater ability' within four Maintained and Independent case study schools in Scotland, from a variety of group perspectives. It seeks to illuminate the commonalties and differences between and within schools in individuals' implicit theories of ability and explores the possible implications of such constructs. An analysis of policy and political debate provided the starting point for this research. This led into the empirical work in four case study schools. Data were gathered from semi structured interviews with headteachers, principal teachers of English, Maths, Art and music, class teachers, parents and pupils. In addition, non-participant observation took place for each subject area and class. Multiple perspectives helped to create meaningful layers of perceptions of ability while also making it possible to analyse the complexity of values and beliefs within each class and school. The research found that there were distinctions to be made between schools in both sectors which reflected contrasting viewpoints, echoing `communitarian concerns' and the `culture of self interest' (Ball, 1997). However, the experiences, judgements and choices of individuals presented a more complex pattern in which contradictory beliefs could lead to experiences of dissonance in maintained schools and highlighted the importance of the negotiated ability constructs being brought to bear by individuals within institutions.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/2610
Affiliation: School of Education
Department of Education

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