OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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June 26, 2011

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How do some students overcome their socio-economic background?
PISA in Focus, OECD, June 26, 2011.

As I have often commented, the greatest predictor of educational outcomes is socio-economic background. If you're rich, you do better in school. But many people from disadvantaged backgrounds still achieve great things. These students are what we would call resilient. I am one, I think. So why do resilient students succeed where the others fail? This analysis of PISA results identifies two factors. One is more regular lessons at school. The resilient student is less likely to skip class. But even more important, in my view, is self-confidence. "Some 75% of resilient students believed they can give good answers to test questions on science topics, while only about 50% of disadvantaged low achievers shared this belief." And in many cases, resilience is tied to motivation, "particularly motivation that arises from a personal, internal drive, rather than motivation that is prompted by an external stimulus such as the prospect of a certain job or salary."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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