Working PaperPDF Available

Student Achievement Factors

Authors:
2012
South Dakota State
University
College of Education and
Human Sciences
Department of Teaching,
Learning and Leadership
Katherine Bertolini,
Andrew Stremmel,
Jill Thorngren
[STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
FACTORS]
Abstract: Effective practices for education are essential to insure public investment in our schools
provides the maximum yield for our students, communities, states, and nation. The challenge has
been defining and measuring terms such as effective, proficient, and sufficient when we examine
instructional practice, student outcomes and funding equity. This position paper summarizes research
findings on teaching practices, teacher training, parental involvement and other factors in relation to
how each impacts student achievement. Results of this literature review reveal complex and
interrelated factors that impact student achievement. Recommendations for whole child instruction
are made based on extensive literature that support the assets of a bio-ecological model of education.
(Contains 1 diagram)
Student Achievement Factors
Student achievement is impacted on numerous levels including students’ personal factors, their
interactions with others such as parents, teachers, and administrators, and lastly the larger systems that
surround the student e.g. school districts, neighborhoods, local economy, political policy, and
multicultural relations. Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model illustrates a holistic view of the “whole
child” in the full context of their world. The model contains four levels from the most personal to the
externalized elements of a person’s life experiences.
Bronfenbrenner’s Bio-ecological Model (1979)
The factors within a student that have an impact on how they learn can be identified. Creating
policy (at every level of schools from building to federal levels) to improve learning outcomes is
necessary to shape expectations. Extensive research is proving the efficacy of instruction for the whole
child. This approach to education requires an awareness of the complexities of human learning and
development. Learner centered instruction is designed to include four general areas: cognitive and
metacognitive, motivational and affective, developmental and social, and individual differences
(Cornelius-White & Harbaugh, 2010). Learner centered instruction extends the traditional knowledge
transfer model to be more inclusive of the student’s full life experiences. A paradigm shift from
students’ deficits to students strengths and assets is a foundational requirement of learner centered
instruction (Cornelius-White & Harbaugh, 2010). When any factor is examined, practitioners must
recognize the student’s individual proficiency in any one of the factors can cover a wide range from
profound deficits to mastery.
The next section of this paper examines student achievement factors that exist within each level
of Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model. The factors that impact each level are explained and
supported by elements that have been shown to positively impact child learning and development.
Climate/culture
(Macrosystem)
Larger
Community
(Exosystem)
Interactive
Experiences
(mesosystem)
Student
Personal
(microsystem)
Student Achievement Factors
Researchers who have advanced the field in that particular area are noted for reference and future
study.
Micro System Factors
The micro-system factors are comprised of traits within the student as well as their direct
interactions with others such as teachers and other students. Factors that have been found to have a
significant impact on student learning and engagement in school are presented.
Student Resiliency- the capacity to be self-righting despite adverse circumstances. When
protective factors are present, the effects of adversity are mediated which encourages healthy
development in 50 80 percent of a high risk population. These buffers appear to transcend
history, ethnicity, and socioeconomic boundaries. (Benard, 2004)
o Unconditionally supportive adult (Benard, 2004; Downey, 2008; Luthar, Cicchetti, &
Becker, 2000; Werner & Smith, 1992)
o Opportunities for mastery, self-efficacy and recognition (Bandura, 1977; Benard, 2004)
Individual student abilities-cognitive and metacognitive factors affect the student’s ability to
learn, and more importantly to critically understand how to best understand and process
information.
o Critical thinking opportunities (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001)
o Connection of learning to student context (past, present and future)
o Selection of options for how learning can occur with some autonomy (Tomlinson, 2001)
Health and attendance-motivational, physical, and affective factors
o Real world learning with a purpose that always answers, “Why do I have to do this?”
(Roberson, 2011)
o Authentic inquiry and assessment (Cornelius-White & Harbaugh, 2010)
o Health and nutrition promotion as a primary prevention (Durlak, 2000)
Developmental differences- readiness for skills development
o Redefining achievement by assessing differently. Summative assessments to measure
learning goals, models and criteria are shared in advance, assess before the instruction
begins, offer choices for mastery, provide feedback, teach students to critically develop
their own learning goals and measure their own progress, allow new evidence of
learning to replace the old samples (Blankstein, 2010)
o Diagnostic, formative and summative assessments (Blankstein, 2010)
o Cooperative learning (Marzano et al., 2001; Slavin, 1991)
o Differential Instruction for students (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006)
o Students tutoring other students and contributing to the community (Benard, 2004)
o Adjustment of school calendar to reduce summer learning losses
Social and Moral Development is embedded in the culture of the family and community. Schools
also develop a social and moral culture.
o Social Justice Focus in Schools(Freire, 1968; hooks, 1994)
o Integration of social and moral development into curriculum as well as vision, mission,
Student Achievement Factors
o Creation of intergrade, interschool safety nets for students (Blankstein, 2010)
Meso-System Factors
The interactions that surround each learner directly impact student achievement. The following
variables have been specifically identified as important in bolstering student success.
School climate as a welcoming and safe environment for learning
o Multicultural competence (Cornelius-White & Harbaugh, 2010)
o Supportive relationship building in all areas of child, parent, school system promotes
values and norm development that positively influence student achievement (Coleman,
1998)
o Protected team time, advisory time (Blankstein, 2010; Littky, 2004)
Parent Training and Partnering
o Outreach programs to parents-authentic connections (Benard, 2004; Blankstein &
Noguera, 2010; Dessoff, 2009)
o Love & Logic parenting courses (Fay, 2012)
o Shared expectation setting for vision/mission/values/goals with parents
Professional Development for Teachers (von Frank, 2008)
o Professional Learning Communities (Darling-Hammond & Rothman, 2011)
o Personalized and teacher Driven (Darling-Hammond & Rothman, 2011)
o Strengthened relationships for all stakeholders in the system (Blankstein, 2010)
Building Leadership Capacity in teachers and administrators (Blankstein, Hargreaves, & Fink,
2010)
o Redefined educational leadership, the distribution of who leads and systems for
sustaining leadership (Darling-Hammond & Rothman, 2011; Hargreaves & Fink, 2010).
Teacher Evaluation
o Mentor systems (Darling-Hammond & Rothman, 2011)
o Support communities of shared responsibility and learning (Blankstein, 2010; Darling-
Hammond, 2008; Darling-Hammond & Rothman, 2011)
o Ongoing and asset based (Danielson, 2007; Darling-Hammond & Rothman, 2011)
o Shared decision making for professional growth (Danielson, 2007)
Peer Culture and Achievement (Expectations within the student body collective)
o Focus groups that equally represent all student groups to meet with administration
(Blankstein, 2010)
o Collaborative, democratic expectations for the classroom (Cornelius-White & Harbaugh,
2010)
o Clear communication of Schools Vision, Mission, Values, and Goals for all students (how
is this made real in addition to banners and statements)(Blankstein, 2010)
Exo- and Macro- Systems Factors
Student Achievement Factors
This layer is characterized by the societal factors and systemic factors that impact student
learning. While the factors exist on a large scale, interventions can be made on the meso-system to
address the individual realities each student is experiencing. The interrelated risk factors listed below
benefit from many of the same items that are listed in the micro and meso-systems. Logic dictates that
students who experience the opposite end of the spectrum of the factors here have more beneficial
learning opportunities and experiences.
Socioeconomic disparities between families within schools as well as disparities between
communities and states. Students in poverty neighborhoods do not perform as well as students
from more affluent neighborhoods.
o Advocacy and partnerships such as school and university alliances can meet needs
within schools
o Advocacy through national organizations such as the Children’s Defense Fund, National
Education Association and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
create opportunities for policy influence.
Racism/Classism
o Multicultural competence for Teachers and Administrators
o Relational trust building with parents, communities and schools (Blankstein, 2010)
o Advocacy at the building level and up through all levels
Child Abuse and Neglect
o Parent effectiveness training (PET) and Filial therapy or child parent relationship therapy
(CPRT) all were identified as effective in two meta-analysis studies (Cornelius-White &
Harbaugh, 2010)
o Literacy Programs impact long term student success. (Cornelius-White & Harbaugh,
2010)
Unhealthy lifestyles
o Wellness based curriculum integration
A bio-ecological systems model suggests that there are many factors that influence student
achievement. Therefore, a holistic approach is needed that is focused on meeting the broad academic
and social needs of all children, promoting rich learning environments, recruiting, retaining, and
developing excellent teachers, and fostering supportive relationships across many systems.
Programming that is supported by legislation should be reflective of best known practices for fostering
student achievement factors in all of the bio-ecological model of child development.
Student Achievement Factors
References
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... There are several factors affecting student achievement, including personal factors, interactions factors (with parents, teachers, and staff), and the other factors outside (school location, neighborhoods, local economy, political policy, and multicultural relations). Bronfenbrenner's bio-ecological model categorized the factors in 4 (four) level but still interacted one with another and build a holistic network [11]: ...
... These factors are known to have a significant impact on learning and student involvement in school. Microsystem factors can be in the form of student resiliency, individual student abilities, health and attendance, student's readiness for skills development, social and moral development is embedded in the culture of the family and community [11]. Microsystem also refers to the student's family, school, religious institutions, neighborhood, and peers who give a direct impact on student development [12]. ...
... Mesosystem factors are the interactions that exist around the student and directly impact student achievement. Mesosystem factors can be in the form of school climate, parent training and partnering, professional development for teachers, leadership capacity building in teachers and staff, teacher evaluation, and teacher's peer culture and achievement [11]. Mesosystem also can be described as interconnections among microsystem factors. ...
... Furthermore, the four factor domains of micro system, meso-system, exo-system, and macro system influence students in relation to their academic achievement [23]. Based on these factor domains, there is one contributing factor domain related to mindfulness and social emotional competence. ...
... This means, the factor domain of micro-system which involving students' resiliency, abilities, moral, and social development has relationship with both mindfulness and social emotional competence. As micro-system is one of the contributing factors influencing the academic achievement, mindfulness and social emotional competence are believed to contribute or influence students' especially pre-service teachers' academic achievement [23]. ...
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Shows teachers how to foster positive characteristics of engagement in their students Learner-Centered Instruction: Building Relationships for Student Success covers teaching methods, classroom management strategies, and ways to engage students and support their success. Authors Jeffrey H. D. Cornelius-White and Adam P. Harbaugh show K-12 teachers how to use the learner-centered instruction model to develop teacher-student relationships, as well as relationships with parents, administrators, other teachers, and professional organizations. Focusing on teaching as facilitation applied through warmth, trust, empathy, and realness, Learner-Centered Instruction shows teachers how to share control and choice in classroom management through a balance of influence and cooperation. Well-grounded in research and theory, this book emphasizes encouragement, challenge, and adaptation for differentiated instruction through methods such as inquiry, cooperative small group learning, and authentic, relevant endeavors. Key Features and Benefits Includes chapter-opening “Reflect on Your Experiences” questions that invite readers to connect to prior knowledge, understanding, and experiences; Incorporates “Case Studies” that connect readers to realistic classroom and teaching scenarios, followed by related “Reflection” questions that ask readers to consider practical applications of the cases discussed; Helps readers develop their understanding through skill-building exercises, visual aids, discussion questions, and suggested resources.
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