Note: This document was written prior to the research being completed.

University of South Australia

Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences.

Magill Campus.

 

Title of the research project: Possible Selves and the Motivation of High School Students.

Researcher: Mr G.A. Higgs (B.Ed, Dip. T.)

Telephone: 8264 0543  or  8302 4552  or  0403 198965

Email: g.higgs@unisa.edu.au

Supervisor: Dr G.C. Yates. 8302 4505.

Email: g.yates@unisa.edu.au

(This letter becomes applicable if permission to survey the students has been obtained.)

Term 4, 2000.

Dear teachers,                                     

               I will be conducting research in educational psychology using the students in year 10 as participants in a questionnaire survey. I will survey them again when they reach year 12.

            My interest is in the future thoughts and aspirations of students in high school and their degree of motivation to complete their secondary education.  Students who look to the future and think about who or what they might become, use these inner thoughts and hopes as motivational tools to help them persist with their education despite all setbacks and barriers that are placed in their way. Students’ future hopes and aspirations, called Possible Selves, can be identified and linked to other aspects of their inner selves such as self-esteem and optimism. Research conducted in the United States has shown that the possible selves are strongly linked to motivation and persistence by providing specific goals to strive for through structured thoughts and actions. In addition, they motivate a person by providing the emotional energy to persevere in pursuing those goals.

            Students in year 10, with permission obtained from parents, will be asked to respond to a questionnaire that allows a student to express thoughts about the future - their possible selves. In addition, the students will respond to questions that reveal aspects of their self-esteem and whether or not they have an optimistic outlook on life in general. I also have a scale designed to measure persistence at a task. Students will not be identified by name and all data will remain confidential within the guidelines required by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of South Australia. Students and parents will have the option of withdrawing from the proposed research at any time. The questionnaires are available on the World Wide Web and have been designed to be quick to administer thus reducing the time away from classes to a minimum.  It is estimated that individuals could take up to a total of 40 minutes to complete the required responses. Data collected will be sent directly to the university by each participant completing the questionnaires on the World Wide Web.

            If you are involved in conducting the survey, you will only need to provide the Internet address for the students and then supervise those taking part. The on-screen instructions should allow them to work alone. You can clarify what they have to do but not assist them in how to answer the questions in the survey.

            Thank you for your cooperation. Please contact me or Dr Yates, if further information is required. The name and telephone number of the Chair of the Human Research Ethics Committee is listed below. She will also be available to discuss general aspects of the project should you wish to do so.

The current Chair is Ms Linley Hartmann,

Business & Enterprise, City West,

telephone (08) 8302-0327,

facsimile (08) 8302-0512,

email linley.hartmann@unisa.edu.au

 

                                                Yours sincerely, 

 

                                                 Geoff A. Higgs,

                                 School of Education,

                                 University of South Australia.

 

  (More below)

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University of South Australia

Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences.

Magill Campus.

Title of the research project: Possible Selves and the Motivation of High School Students.

Researcher: Mr G.A. Higgs (B.Ed, Dip. T.)

Telephone: 8264 0543  or  8302 4552  or  0403 198965.

Email: g.higgs@unisa.edu.au

Supervisor: Dr G.C. Yates. 8302 4505.

Email: g.yates@unisa.edu.au

  Copies of these forms are available at the "Download Forms" link on the "Start" page.

Dear Teachers,

                        The research data I am gathering from the students in year 10 will be looked at from the perspective of three variables. I would like you to place the students in your classes/forms into one of the three following categories:

1. High academic achievement.

2. Average academic achievement.

3. Under achievement.

Students who, in your judgement, are consistent high achievers.

Students who, in your judgement, are consistent average achievers.

Students who, in your judgement, are consistent under achievers.

            The research team is well aware that we are asking for some highly sensitive and somewhat arbitrary ratings. Please realise we look only at statistical trends and do not examine for individual results. The categories are not meant to be absolute but to serve as a guide for placement. You may want to place a student in a category based on your knowledge of the student rather than on their actual performances in tests and assignments. Some students deliberately underachieve to mask their “true” abilities in the eyes of peers or others, and some students may under perform due to extended illness.

            Your prepared lists will initially contain students’ names but, subsequently, these names will be replaced by specific reference numbers ensuring the anonymity of the students and your categorization. The named lists will be retained by the university and the anonymous lists will become part of the collected data to be correlated with the responses to the questionnaires. It will not be possible to identify individual students from the collected data when results are published. After the year 12 repeat survey, the forms will be destroyed.

            The sheet for your placement of students is attached to this letter. Please return it to the Coordinator who will retain all sheets.

                                                Yours sincerely,

Geoff A. Higgs.

 

Name of school:

 

Form/class:                                                                             Date:

 

1. High academic achievement.

2. Average academic achievement.

3. Under achievement.

Students who, in your judgement, are consistent high achievers.

Students who, in your judgement, are consistent average achievers.

Students who, in your judgement, are consistent underachievers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are there any students whom you would consider to be gifted and talented in any area of human achievement? (List their special attributes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Confidential information to be retained by the university. 

Not to be copied.

This information constitutes part of the research data collected by

Mr. G.A. Higgs,

University of South Australia.