09 SES 12 A, Relations of Class Composition and Schools’ Time-policy to Students’ Competencies, Cognitions and Motivations in Lower Secondary Education
In large-scale educational assessments it is typical to analyse between-school differences (e.g. OECD, 2013) and look at how much of variance is explained by systematic school-level effects. In countries with relatively small differences between schools, a greater proportion of variance is located within schools, but systematic class or peer group -level effects are only seldom analysed due to sampling prodecures and lack of information regarding social relationships within classes. This is despite of the fact that it has been understood for decades that classmates and peers have a influence on each others' performance at school (Hanushek, Kain, Markman & Rivkin; Ryan, 2012; Song & Grabowski, 2006; Wentzell and Caldwell, 1997). In one of the very few studies that have reported on between-class differences in the context of large-scale assessment studies (Yang Hansen, Gustafsson & Rosén, 2014) it was found that compared to other Nordic countries, between-class differences are very large in Finland. However, cross-sectional studies cannot answer to the question whether these differences are a result of initial class composition or if the performance has developed differently, indicating that the difference may be partially produced by the classes (cf., Vainikainen, Hautamäki, Hotulainen & Kupiainen, 2015) . Therefore, longitudinal assessment studies are needed in order to understand the mechanisms of the development of performance.
The aim of the present study is to look at how class-level differences develop from the beginning of the fourth grade until the end of the sixth grade as measured by 10 to 12-years-old pupils’ performance in a large-scale assessment of domain-general learning to learn competences (see Vainikainen, Wüstenberg, Kupiainen, Hotulainen, & Hautamäki, 2015). More specifically, the research questions are:
- How large are the between-class differences in Finnish schools at this stage?
- Do the between-class differences increase when the pupils proceed towards the end of primary education?
- Which factors explain the initial differences and the expected differentiating class-level development?
Demetriou, A., Platsidou, M., Efklides, A., Metallidou, Y., & Shayer, M. (1991). The development of quantitative-relational abilities from childhood to adolescence: Structure, scaling, and individual differences. Learning and Instruction, 1, 19–43. Hanushek, E.A., Kain, J.F., Markman, J.M., & Rivkin, S.G. (2003). Does peer ability affect student achievement? Journal of Applied Econometrics, 18, 527-544. OECD (2013a). PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can Do – Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science (Volume I). OECD Publishing. Song, H.-D., & Grabowski, B. (2006). Stimulating Instrict Motivation for Problem Solving Using Goal-Oriented Context and Peer Group Composition. Educational Technology Research and Development, 54 (5), 445–466. Vainikainen, M.‐P., Hautamäki, J., Hotulainen, R., & Kupiainen, S. (2015). General and specific thinking skills and schooling: Preparing the mind to new learning. Thinking skills and creativity, 18, 53-64. doi:10.1016/j.tsc.2015.04.006 Vainikainen, M.‐P., Wüstenberg, S., Kupiainen, S., Hotulainen, R., & Hautamäki, J. (2015). Development of learning to learn skills in primary school. International Journal of Lifelong Learning. 34 (4) , 376-392. doi:10.1080/02601370.2015.1060025 Wechsler, D. (1981). WAIS-R: Manual: Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – revised. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich for Psychological Corp. Wentzel, K.R. & Caldwell, K. (1997). Friendships, peer acceptance, and group membership: Relations to academic achievement in middle school. Child Development, 68(6), 1198-1209. Yang Hansen, K., Gustafsson, J.-E. , & Rosén, M. (2014). School performance difference and policy variations in Finland, Norway and Sweden. In K. Yang Hansen, J.-E. Gustafsson, M. Rosén, S. Sulkunen, K. Nissinen, P. Kupari, R.F. Ólafsson, J.K. Björnsson, L.S. Grønmo, L. Rønberg, J. Mejding, I.C. Borge, & A. Hole. Northern Lights on TIMMS and PIRLS 2011. TemaNord 2014:528, 25-48.
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