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Teacher beliefs and educational attainment: A three-level model of the relation of student, classroom and school variables to public examination performance

Hammond, John Thorley (1995) Teacher beliefs and educational attainment: A three-level model of the relation of student, classroom and school variables to public examination performance. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Over the last 80 years there has been voluminous research on teacher and school effects. Overwhelmingly, this research has been process-product oriented. The present study departs from this established tradition in focusing on the study of certain presage variables in relation to student learning.

The basis of the present research is an attempt to unfold what Gage (1978) has referred to as teachers' "implicit theories of teaching". The central thesis of the research is based on two related hypotheses: the first that teachers' implicit theories of teaching are interpretable in terms of three distinct dimensions of teachers' beliefs about teaching; and the second that the three dimensions are differentially related to student achievement. The three major concerns of the research were to develop a theory accounting for the relationship between teacher beliefs and student learning, to design and implement an empirical study to confirm the existence of the three dimensions of teacher beliefs, and to investigate the relationship between teacher beliefs and student achievement with appropriate reference to the hierarchical nature of the context in which teaching takes place.

Empirical support is found for the existence of three dimensions of teachers’ beliefs as postulated by the first hypothesis. The findings with regard to the relationship of these dimensions to student achievement, while not definitive in their support for the second hypothesis, are sufficient to suggest that further investigation is warranted. Apart from these findings with respect to the two principal hypotheses of the study, there are other findings with regard to students' academic self-concept which confirm the previous work of Marsh (1986, 1987, 1988, 1990), specifically in terms of his postulation of an internal/external frame of reference model and the Big-Fish-Little-Pond Effect. There are also findings with respect to academic self-concept and its relationship with gender and socio-economic status which have potentially important implications. Overall, it is concluded that academic self-concept is an important mediating variable for many of the effects of interest in this study and on this basis should be the focus of any future investigation of hypotheses concerning teacher beliefs and student achievement.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Straton, Ralph
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