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Learning environment in the upper secondary school

In her Ph.D. work, Maren Stabel Tvedt takes a closer look at the potential significance of factors in the learning environment in the upper secondary school on the motivation and mental health of the students.

A lack of motivation for school work and mental health problems are currently very relevant issues among students in upper secondary school, and as such require a critical assessment of whether factors in the learning environment may be of significance for these issues. The fact that as many as one third of the students drop out of upper secondary school is a clear indication that a large share of the students do not feel that the educational programme is satisfactory.

The objective of this Ph.D. study is to take a closer look at how factors in the learning environment may help ensure that the needs of the students are met in such a manner that the students will remain motivated for learning and maintain an ability to complete their upper secondary education, as well as support their mental health through confidence in their own abilities and opportunities.

The focus will primarily be on various aspects of the relationship and interaction between teachers and students. The students' feelings about the assessment practice and various types of teacher support will be evaluated as relevant factors. Research indicates that assessments may be an efficient factor for stimulation of motivation and good learning outcomes, but it may also be a factor that inhibits the students' motivation, depending on the type of practice. In the last decade, there has been considerable focus nationally on ensuring that formative assessment practices (cf. Assessment for Learning) figure more prominently in the pedagogical practice, but there is not much Norwegian research from upper secondary schools into how this may affect the students' motivation and well-being.

Data will be obtained in three rounds from students over the course of their upper secondary education, and this data will then be subjected to a quantitative analysis.

Maren Stabel Tvedt. Photo: Jeanette Larsen

Maren Stabel Tvedt. Photo: Jeanette Larsen