Working PaperPDF Available

Student Achievement Factors

South Dakota State
College of Education and
Human Sciences
Department of Teaching,
Learning and Leadership
Katherine Bertolini,
Andrew Stremmel,
Jill Thorngren
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.
Student Achievement Factors
Researchers who have advanced the field in that particular area are noted for reference and future
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
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,
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,
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,
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.
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,
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
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option (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Blankstein, A. M., Hargreaves, A. & Fink, D. (2010). Principle 6: Building sustainable leadership capacity.
In A. M. Blankstein (Ed.), Failure is not an option: 6 principles for making student success the only
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Student Achievement Factors
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strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and
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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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span>Pre-service teachers must be able to fulfill the standards of having teachers’ competencies and more than adequate knowledge to teach the future generations. In relation to this, mindfulness, social emotional competence, and academic ability become crucial reasons they need in perceiving the quality to become professional teachers. The respondents of this study were 68 students who were English as a Foreign Language (EFL) pre-service teachers ranging from the age of 19-22 from the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education at one of the university in South Sumatra, Indonesia. The aims of this study were to find out the relationship among these pre-service teachers’ mindfulness, social emotional competence and academic achievement. The instruments of this study were the five-facet mindfulness and social emotional competence questionnaires. The documentation of their GPA which were analyzed using Pearson Product Moment Test. The results of this study showed that pre-service teachers had high level of mindfulness and social emotional competence. It also highlighted that there were significant weak correlation between their five facet mindfulness and academic achievement, and their five facet mindfulness and social emotional competence toward academic achievement. Specifically, the non-judging dimension from the five-facet mindfulness and self-management from social emotional competence also correlated significantly to academic achievements. In conclusion, the pre-service teachers’ mindfulness, social emotional competence, and academic achievement had beneficial relationship one another.</span
... Internal factors include physical, psychological, and exhaustion, while external factors include family, school, and society. Additionally, Bertolini, Stremmel, and Thorngren (2012) identified four factors that influenced students' achievement. There were four categories of system factors: macrosystem factors, microsystem factors, exosystem factors, and mesosystem factors. ...
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Colleges may find certain difficulties to achieve a good academic achievement, such as personal or social factors. One of the social factors is the ability of the collegians to adapt to their surroundings. It is concerned with how they adjust to the college environment, academic conditions, and people around them. The purpose of this research was to determine the relationship between social adjustment and academic achievement, as well as the contribution of social adjustment to academic achievement among EFL Students in higher education. Total population sampling was used as the sampling technique. The sample consisted of 226 active EFL students. The study's instruments were the Social Adjustment to College Questionnaire and students' cumulative GPA. The findings revealed a very weak significant correlation between social adjustment and academic achievement, with the r-obtained value greater than the r-table value (0.192 > 0.131) and the p value less than 0.05 (0.004 0.05) in the significance level of 5% two-tailed. Meanwhile, Social Adjustment contributed 3.3 percent to academic achievement.
... In addition, psychologists find that academic achievement can be influenced by several factors, such as their parents, teachers, administrators, community environments including their school districts, neighborhoods, local economy, political life, and their multiple cultural relationships. Their achievement can even be affected by their personalities (Bertolini, Stremmel, & Thorngren, 2012), Farooq et al. (2011) add to this and specifies that age, gender, socioeconomic status, and parents' educational level can also affect the academic achievement of the university students. The researchers note that there is a disregard for psychological adjustment or psychological aspects when discussing the factors affecting academic achievement. ...
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The present study examined the impact of psychological adjustment on private university students' academic achievement. The sample size consisted of 121 university students (42.1% male, and 57.9% female). The results indicated that only 15 % of the study participants showed high levels of psychological adjustment, and 34% of them showed low levels of psychological adjustment, while 51 % of the total sample recorded average levels of psychological adjustment. The findings also indicated relationship between psychological adjustment and students' academic achievement at university in the way it has a significant positive impact on students' academic achievement in private universities. The study concludes with recommending the application of tests that measure students' psychological adjustment with the specialization in which they wish to continue their university study in before they are admitted in any academic specialization.
... Micro-system factors consist of characteristic of the student himself and also his direct interactions with teachers and other students such as student resiliency, individual student abilities, social and moral development and motivations in learning. It can be seen that the micro-system factors are related to social-emotional competencies where the factors are related to the ability of the students to adapt in any situation in real life [8]. Moreover, teachers educational level, experience, subject matter knowledge, students interest towards education, attendance, parents educational level, parents income, distance of the school from the students home, the availability of materials, text book and language skill of students affect the academic success of students [9]. ...
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In Indonesian secondary schools, young learners might have some difficulties such as lack of motivation, lack of confidence and disengagement in learning English, which contribute to the level of their social-emotional competencies (SEC). This study was conducted to investigate the relations between 103 seventh graders’ SEC and their English academic achievement. This study provided not only the correlation but also the results of the students’ SEC, their English academic achievement, and the contribution of the students’ SEC to their English academic achievement. The collected data from the SEC questionnaire and documentation were analyzed by using Pearson Correlation. The results highlighted that there was a significant weak correlation (r-obtained=0.367) between the students’ SEC and their English academic achievement. Moreover, there was 12.6% contribution of the students’ SEC to their English academic achievement. Therefore, it is possible that social-emotional competencies may enhance students’ English academic performance.
... | DOI: 10.15408/ tjems.v5i1.7098 This is an open access article under CC-BY-SA license ( Thorngren, et. Al. (2012), explained those factors which played a dynamic role in the success of student life. Student accomplishment is affected on various levels including understudies' close to home components, their guardians, educators, and overseers, and finally the bigger frameworks that encompass the understudy e.g. school areas, neighborhoods, nearby ec ...
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This study investigated the effect of school management on students’ perceived academic achievement among Seventh- day Adventist secondary schools in in North-East Tanzania. The study employed survey research design, whereby a self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 311 randomly selected students and their responses were analyzed through the Statistical Package for Social Sciences. The study established that school management was effective in planning, motivating and encouraging students to work hard toward maximized academic achievement. However, the school management was perceived ineffective in accepting ideas from students and involving parents in decision making. Students were satisfied with their academic achievement and believed that their academic competence keeps increasing from day to day but were undecided whether teachers and parents are satisfied with their academic achievement. Finally, students’ academic achievement is positively influenced by effective school management. Based on the conclusions, the researchers recommended that, while school management is effective in planning, motivating and encouraging students to work hard toward maximized achievement, the school leaders need to improve on acceptance of constructive ideas from students and involving parents in decision making processes. While students were satisfied with their academic achievement and they were undecided whether teachers and parents are satisfied with their academic achievements, there is a need to enhance the interaction between students and their parents and teachers for them to grasp how parents and teachers perceive their academic achievement. Finally, while students’ academic achievement is positively influenced be effective school management, there is need for school leaders to improve their managerial practices which will enhance the level of academic achievement by students in the respective schools.
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Edmodo learning is a social media platform, such as Facebook that was developed specifically for students and teachers, which can function to carry out learning. This study aims to determine the effect of Edmodo learning on learning motivation of students. This research is a field research with quantitative research design with an associative approach. Data collection techniques used were observation, questionnaires, and documentation. The results of the data analysis showed that there was a significant influence on Edmodo learning on student motivation in SMK Negeri 1 Palopo.
Presents an integrative theoretical framework to explain and to predict psychological changes achieved by different modes of treatment. This theory states that psychological procedures, whatever their form, alter the level and strength of self-efficacy. It is hypothesized that expectations of personal efficacy determine whether coping behavior will be initiated, how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of obstacles and aversive experiences. Persistence in activities that are subjectively threatening but in fact relatively safe produces, through experiences of mastery, further enhancement of self-efficacy and corresponding reductions in defensive behavior. In the proposed model, expectations of personal efficacy are derived from 4 principal sources of information: performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiological states. Factors influencing the cognitive processing of efficacy information arise from enactive, vicarious, exhortative, and emotive sources. The differential power of diverse therapeutic procedures is analyzed in terms of the postulated cognitive mechanism of operation. Findings are reported from microanalyses of enactive, vicarious, and emotive modes of treatment that support the hypothesized relationship between perceived self-efficacy and behavioral changes. (21/2 p ref)
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.
In this 2nd edition of a book that has provided inspiration to countless teachers, Carol Ann Tomlinson offers three new chapters, extended examples and information in every chapter, and field-tested strategies that teachers can use in today's increasingly diverse classrooms. Tomlinson shows how to use students' readiness levels, interests, and learning profiles to address student diversity.