I used the learning environment questionnaire WIHIC (What is Happening in this Classroom), to gather data from the entire group of Year 7 students (aged 11 years). This allowed me to gauge all the students' perceptions of how they see their learning environment, from the perspective of a researcher standing outside the group.
By using a pre-selected sample of 5 students with a variety of identified specific learning disabilities and a random sample of 5 other students from within this larger group, I compared the sample groups' data with one another as well as against the overall year group. This database of the scale scores enabled me to identify any differences and similarities between the groups of students. The use of a second questionnaire a week later, the preferred form, enabled me to compare the differences between the scale scores of both versions and find out if those children who learn differently perceive their classroom environment in a different way to their peers and if so in what areas.
The first questionnaire, the actual form, gives an indication of how they perceive their classroom environment to be at that time and the second preferred version indicates how they would like their learning environment to be. I wanted to see if there is any difference between the actual and preferred forms for the SLD students and their peers.
Fraser & Tobin (1991) have identified the need for more research that examines the differences in perceptions of individuals or subgroups within the class.
Certain subgroups of students within a class appear to perceive different sub
environments because of the teacher's differential treatment of different
Fraser & Tobin (P. 291)