University Students’ Academic Attainment: The Influence of Public and Private Secondary Schooling in Kuwait
Alsuwaileh, Bader GH H S
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The purpose of this study was to compare the academic attainment of public and private school students at Kuwait University and to explore the reasons for the differences that were found. In the first part of this study, a Kuwait University data set of three cohorts of students, which consisted of the final Grade Point Average (GPA) of 8619 university graduates, was analysed in order to determine whether there were significant differences in academic attainment between publicly and privately educated students. An analysis of the dataset revealed that the academic attainment of the students who had attended private secondary schools was statistically significantly higher than those who had attended public ones. The second part of this study employed a mixed methods approach in order to try to determine why private schools students outperformed public school students in terms of the GPA at Kuwait University. Based on the literature review, an interview schedule was constructed and utilized in interviews with sixteen university students. Drawing on my analysis of these interviews, a questionnaire was designed in order to further explore the emerging issues. Two hundred and two students completed the questionnaire survey. Also, a deeper understanding of the key factors underlying the differences in academic attainment between the three cohorts of students was facilitated by interviews with five public and five private secondary school principals. The findings of the questionnaire survey and principals’ interviews suggest that school leadership practices, the quality of teaching, aspects of assessment and feedback and parental involvement are important factors in determining why private schools students outperformed public school students in terms of the 3 GPA at Kuwait University. Of crucial importance, as it permeates every aspect of its policies and practices, is a school’s mission – its aspirations for its pupils.
PhD in Education