An investigation of student perceptions of quality in a secondary school

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Yule, Bettina
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Unitec Institute of Technology
Collins, Jennifer
Youngs, Howard
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
students' perceptions
quality in education
New Zealand secondary education
New Zealand
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Yule, B. (2011). An investigation of student perceptions of quality in a secondary school. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
This research examines current students’ perceptions of the quality features required by them from a secondary school and considers how well they judge their school to be performing in relation to these. Strengths and weaknesses are identified to ensure the school improves the quality of the students’ experience. With secondary schools’ funding dependent on roll numbers it is essential that schools meet the needs of their students so they become, or remain, the school of choice. The importance of marketing a school centers on both the communication of the quality of the education, and the recruitment and retention of pupils. A small-scale mixed method study was used to examine the features in relation to students’ perceptions of performance in 2007 and 2010. Two focus groups were conducted with both years’ current Year 13 student leaders to identify 15 quality features they felt were important in a secondary school. An anonymous questionnaire was produced with the 15 quality statements acknowledged by the focus group. The questionnaire results were mapped onto an importance/performance matrix which served to highlight some areas where there was a discrepancy between the school’s performance and the importance of specific quality features to the students. In 2007 these related to students having passionate teachers that care, a fair discipline system, up to date resources and equipment with technology used to enhance learning. In 2010 these features were excellent, caring and supportive teachers, a safe learning environment, a wide curriculum that offered academic opportunities and rewarded students’ success in a school with a good community spirit. This study has a number of implications for the school with regard to meeting the students’ perceptions of their educational needs. High on the list is ensuring that the school is safe for all students and supporting teachers to build a relationship with every student to allow effective learning to take place.
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