Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Julie Ann Pooley


This review outlines literature on the normative high school transitions that occur during adolescence. Research examines factors affecting the school transition experience (e.g., school size, structure, feeder patterns, and the additive affect of multiple school transitions), student outcomes (e.g., academic performance, self-esteem and psychological symptomatology), and student perceptions of their transition experience. Research limitations include the focus on American, metropolitan schools undergoing the elementary to middle school transition, and the utilisation of quantitative methodologies. Future research needs to examine the experience of students from different countries, both metropolitan and rural, undergoing school transitions. Qualitative methodologies should also be utilised to generate issues that are relevant to students' experiences. Particularly, transition research could benefit from a qualitative exploration of the experiences of Australian students undertaking the middle to high school transition. This study explored the experience of rural students who had undergone transitions between schools to continue their studies in year 11 and 12. A thematic content analysis identified two main themes; social relationships and school issues. Social relationships, concerned with peer interactions and student-teacher relationships, had long-term significance while school issues, particularly academia and school structure, were considered a short term concern. The study recommends increased attention to the development of peer and teacher relationships, informing students of the academic focus of year 11 and 12, and maintaining the schools' current pre-transition preparation that introduces the students to the new school environment.