Critical Connections: High-Ability Students Perceptions of Factors that Influence NZQA Scholarship - a Mixed Method Study
This mixed methods study involved 332 high school students and investigated those factors that students perceived as having facilitated their success in New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) Scholarship. A key finding from this study suggests that New Zealand Scholarship students form a connection with at least one teacher and consider this relationship to be a catalyst in their success. Family, peers and friends play a lesser but still important role in the student's success, providing support for the student. These successful students reported reduced time spent in extracurricular activities in order to prepare for subjects in which they believed they would be successful. Students related experiences where teachers, schools and some learning communities were not supportive of their aspirations for high academic achievement, and described the impact of this on their quest for Scholarship success. This research has identified a number of aspects relating to high academic achievement and New Zealand secondary education that require further investigation. These include an investigation into those practices of teachers who work with high-ability students to yield greater understanding of the beliefs that teachers hold about teaching high-ability students and the ways in which these beliefs affect student outcomes.