Re-engaged students’ perceptions of mainstream and flexible learning environments: a ‘semi-quantitative’ approach

Welters, Riccardo, Lewthwaite, Brian, Thomas, Joseph, and Wilson, Kimberley (2019) Re-engaged students’ perceptions of mainstream and flexible learning environments: a ‘semi-quantitative’ approach. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 23 (12). pp. 1315-1331.

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Flexible Learning Options (FLOs) attempt to enable secondary school completion by young people for whom ‘mainstream’ schooling has not worked well. Despite their proliferation and the increased research attention to understanding the mechanisms at work within such programmes, quantitative methods have not been utilised to compare participants’ perceptions of the learning environments of FLOs and mainstream schools. This study describes the development and application of a quantitative instrument to assess re-engaged Australian students’ perceptions of an FLO relative to their previous (mainstream) schools. Findings indicate that, on average, young people rate the learning environment more highly at the FLO than at the mainstream school from which they disengaged, indicating that the learning environment of the FLO aligns more closely with the needs of its student cohort. However, bimodal results for some instrument items highlight that the learning environment is influential, but not necessarily a precondition of school disengagement or re-engagement. Implications of this study are considered, with attention to the complexities that mainstream schools and FLOs negotiate in creating effective learning environments for diverse young people.

Item ID: 52872
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1464-5173
Keywords: school disengagement; disadvantaged youth; alternative education; learning environment; quantitative analysis
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC grant number LP130100344
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2018 05:20
FoR Codes: 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390399 Education systems not elsewhere classified @ 40%
39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390499 Specialist studies in education not elsewhere classified @ 40%
38 ECONOMICS > 3899 Other economics > 389903 Heterodox economics @ 20%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939903 Equity and Access to Education @ 60%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930199 Learner and Learning not elsewhere classified @ 30%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9305 Education and Training Systems > 930501 Education and Training Systems Policies and Development @ 10%
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