Wednesday, 22 June 2011

'Resilient Students'!

I found this really important piece on the OECD Blog talking about the important research around 'resilient' children from the PISA research. Our challenge is how do we increase the number of young people who do much better in school than might be predicted based on their family circumstances.

"As the OECD’s PISA education research has shown, social background is consistently one of the major factors that determines average student performance.
But it’s important to emphasise the word “average”. In just about every place that takes part in PISA, a proportion of kids from poorer families buck the trend – they do much better in school than might be predicted based on their family circumstances. Such kids even have a name – “resilient students”. Across OECD countries, about three out of ten kids from poorer families are resilient, according to results from the latest round of PISA. But the findings also show big variations between countries: In effect, in some places social background has a much smaller impact than in others. In Korea, for instance, well over 50% of kids from poorer backgrounds are resilient, and among some non-OECD members the proportion is even higher: Over 70% in the Chinese city of Shanghai. Finland – a traditional PISA high-flyer – also does well, with close to 50% of students beating the odds. The results are less encouraging at the other end of the scale: Only 20% of students are resilient in Austria and, as the BBC reports, only around 24% in the United Kingdom. The research offers some insights into the factors that can help to encourage resilience. Spending more time in class is one: “In France, Germany and the Netherlands, resilient students spend at least one hour and 45 minutes more in science classes per week than disadvantaged low-achievers do,” the latest edition of PISA In Focus notes. Self-confidence and motivation also matter."

Clearly we need to do more, keep our learning places open and working for longer and continue to raise expectations and develop self-discipline, motivation and help young people understand the importance of persistence, determination and hard work!

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