Teachers’ beliefs related to secondary school completion: associations with socio-educational advantage and school level

  • Kim BeswickEmail author
  • Suzie Wright
  • Jane Watson
  • Ian Hay
  • Jeanne Allen
  • Neil Cranston


This research used the responses of 187 Tasmanian teachers to a questionnaire comprising 52-Likert-type items, two multiple-choice items, and two open-response items to investigate differences in teachers’ beliefs about aspects of schooling related to students’ secondary school completion. Exploratory factor analysis of responses to the Likert-type items identified 3 factors underpinning teachers’ responses. These were (1) Student and parent aspirations, (2) Teacher and school quality and support, and (3) Expectations for continuing education. Two-way ANOVAs showed that primary school teachers scored higher on average than secondary teachers for student and parent aspirations, and that there was an interaction between level of schooling and Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) for this factor. Descriptive statistics were used to compare responses to the multiple-choice items of teachers at different levels of ICSEA and schooling. Open-response items were categorised in two ways (1) as related to pastoral, academic, or engagement matters, and (2) as negative or positive in relation to each of students, parents, and teachers. The results highlighted less academic and more pastorally focussed cultures in Year 7–10 schools compared with Year 11–12 schools and relatively low expectations for university study across the levels of schooling. The findings implicate teachers’ beliefs about students and their families as crucial to influencing educational aspirations and attainment.


Teacher beliefs School completion Educational aspirations Socio-educational advantage School level 



This project was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant LP110200828 and Industry Partner, the Department of Education Tasmania.


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim Beswick
    • 1
    Email author
  • Suzie Wright
    • 2
  • Jane Watson
    • 2
  • Ian Hay
    • 1
  • Jeanne Allen
    • 3
  • Neil Cranston
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  3. 3.School of Education and Professional Studies, Mt Gravatt CampusGriffith UniversityMt GravattAustralia

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