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Sport specialisation in a Singapore secondary school: a case for legitimisation

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posted on 11.05.2018, 11:38 authored by Michael C. McNeill
This evaluation study of a curriculum innovation in sport specialisation was conducted in Singapore from 1994 to 1997. The longitudinal design provided scope for a comprehensive analysis of the school, the staff, the pupils and the implementation of the sports programme, known as the Sports Class. The use of qualitative as well as quantitative paradigms enabled data to be triangulated within the inquiry, which added security to the interpretation of the subjective data. Surveys, interviews and non-participant observations provided the qualitative data whilst established, validated inventories from the field produced the scientific data. A control/experimental group design was selected as a means of removing any maturational data that might have interfered with the results. The study examined the implementation of the programme as an innovation from its inception and provided formative feedback to the school from its findings through annual reports. As background research, the study considered the historical development of sport in Singapore from its colonial past through to its current status as a 'developing' nation to better understand the dominant values for sport within the culture. Elitism, gender and a pre-occupation with fitness were notions that initially directed the investigation. The study also examined the level of intrinsic motivation and assessed the task and ego profiles of the players in the programme. As well as assessing the programme outcomes against the original goals prescribed by the Principal, the study sought out unanticipated effects that made an impact on the school. The study addressed the influence this elitist initiative had on physical education from an egalitarian perspective. The study found that the programme had been successful in improving sporting as well as academic success, two of the original goals, but found that modifications made to the programme design impaired the final structure that created concerns about the future success of the initiative.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Michael Charles McNeill

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.



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