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dc.contributor.advisorLambert, Steve
dc.contributor.advisorBacon, Jo
dc.contributor.authorThomas, Alex
dc.identifier.citationThomas, A. (2023). Performativity and self-efficacy of A-level students during a period of discontinuity [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. University of Chester.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis exploratory case study investigates the impact that the discontinuity to education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, had on the students who were unable to take two series of high-stake examinations. The study examines student self-efficacy in the build-up to final A-level exams, interrogating how the teacher allocated grade process and the periods of lockdown impacted on the student body. The study reflects growing concerns about how government decisions aimed to control the COVID-19 virus have manifested in educational settings and may well effect schools and colleges for many years to come. The conceptual framework that underpinned this research arose from the work of Bandura (1977) on self-efficacy with the specific field of interest being how levels of Academic Self-Efficacy (Zimmerman, 1995) were impacted by a disjointed educational journey. An interpretive approach is adopted, utilising mixed method case study to focus on the students at one educational institution. The empirical data was collected through five stages with the first involving longitudinal quantitative analysis of the student body, followed by two focus groups, which enabled purposive sampling to select five final cases. After interviewing the five students to gain a deeper understanding of their experience, three staff from different institutions were interviewed to triangulate the data. The quantitative and qualitative data was scrutinised using inductive content analysis with three resultant themes emerging. The first was the wider impact on wellbeing that the discontinuity has created, the second was a decline in students' attitudes toward education and the third regarded changes to future plans following the experiences of the pandemic. The findings indicate that for some students the return to ‘normal’ education and the potentially inflated GCSE’s, have been as much of a challenge as the pandemic itself. Accordingly, this thesis begins to ask questions about the culture of neoliberalism and performativity which transcends education and whether the pandemic has given us an opportunity to rethink. This will bring into scope Foucault’s (1982) concepts of power, surveillance, and regulation and Ball’s (2015) work about educational discourse. This research falls at a time where there is limited existing literature which substantively explores the impact of the pandemic on the ‘COVID-19 class’, therefore the novel findings from this research offer a unique window into the lived experiences of students during the COVID-19 discontinuity. Although this research offers no practical guidance about how to alter educational policy or practice, all educational institutions could apply the findings noted as they set out on strategic planning for the future.en_US
dc.publisherUniversity of Chesteren_US
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International*
dc.titlePerformativity and self-efficacy of A-level students during a period of discontinuityen_US
dc.typeThesis or dissertationen_US
dc.rights.embargoreasonAwaiting Awards Boarden_US
dc.rights.usageThe full-text may be used and/or reproduced in any format or medium, without prior permission or charge, for personal research or study, educational, or not-for-profit purposes provided that: - A full bibliographic reference is made to the original source - A link is made to the metadata record in ChesterRep - The full-text is not changed in any way - The full-text must not be sold in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders. - For more information please email

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