"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Factors that Influence Student Achievement

This post is a follow up to "Why the best stay on top in the latest math and science tests". The TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College not only provides standard tests but also data that allow to pinpoint factors that affect student outcomes. With the exams, contextual data are collected from students, teachers and schools, which then provide an avenue for understanding how school factors influence learning outcomes. From the 2011 results, the following factors are shown to be important:
  • adequate school resources for teaching the subjects
  • a school climate for academic success
  • teacher preparation in both content and pedagogy
  • engaging classroom instruction
Having sufficient classrooms (space) and teaching staff characterize students who have higher achievements. Schools whose students do well are those with teachers who have hardly reported any resource storage like overcrowding, inadequate work space, and supplies required to conduct classrooms. The school climate must support academic success. It must focus on achieving academic goals and provide an environment that is conducive to learning. Bullying in school has a strong negative effect on student performance highlighting the need for a school to be a safe and orderly environment for children. A well prepared teaching force is necessary for student achievement. Teacher quality comes from good preparation in subject content as well as pedagogy. But preparation is only one part. Experience counts - good students come from classes whose teachers have ten years of experience. And equally important, satisfaction in career counts. A teacher who is happy produces better students. The following video from YouTube provided by the International Study Center provides an excellent overview of how these factors affect learning outcomes:


The International Study Center has also provided encyclopedias detailing both data and exam results obtained from the participating countries:
TIMSS 2011 Encyclopedia
PIRLS 2011 Encyclopedia




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