09 SES 16 A, Relating Home, School and Out-of-School-Care to Achievement: Findings from TIMSS and PISA
The focus in the OECD’s PISA 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment was on scientific literacy. In addition to students’ achievements in main domain, PISA study collects data concerning among other things students’ attitudes, conditions in schools, family support and relations between peers, as well. Thus PISA study offers an opportunity to observe connections between students’ experienced social support and their learning achievements.
Finnish education policy has traditionally emphasized social equity and equal possibilities for education, which have obviously for one’s part returned high national level of assessment results and relatively small variation between schools. Though, the PISA 2015 results have indicated an increasing effect of socio-economic background on students’ achievements in Finland. The results have indicated also increasing differences between achievements on regions and between the metropolitan area and the other parts of the country. In Finland, families’ socio-economic background is stronger related to parents’ interest in their children’s learning and support to them than in other OECD countries on average. According to the earlier studies, parents’ educational background contains knowledge and skills that will be transferred to children’s learning achievements by parental support.
Also, a relationship between a student and a teacher can be seen as a crucial factor in a successful teaching and learning. Several studies have indicated that the quality of student-teacher relationship is related both students’ integration into a school and the level of learning achievements. In Finland, the teachers’ inequity experienced by students decreased the PISA results more than in the other OECD countries. Another crucial factor affecting a working climate in schools and contentment in general is relationship with peers. Students experienced plenty of bullying the sense of solidarity is much weaker and contentment in general much lower than their peers.
The aim of this study is to examine, what kind of social experience subgroups (profiles) can be found in the PISA 2015 data, and how these subgroups differ in terms of student background and achievement variables. The third goal is to observe regional variation among the profiles.
The Finnish PISA data used in this study consists of 168 schools and 5882 students. Experienced social support profiles were determined by four set of questions in student questionnaire. For each set an index was calculated by factor analysis. The calculated indices were: Sense of solidarity, Family support, Experienced bullying and Negative teacher experience. The data were analyzed by SPSS software. Firstly, by hierarchical cluster analysis five social support profiles were determined by using four aforementioned indices as criterion variables. Secondly, the differences between profiles were studied by differences in science scores, share of genders, average general contentment, average amount of absence and tardiness, and average family wealth in each profile and between genders. Finally, the regional variation was analyzed by means of kriging. Kriging is a geostatistical interpolation method based on the statistical relationship among the measured points’ spatial autocorrelation. Plausible values for share of students in each social support profile were estimated at the nodes of a square grid of 10 km x 10 km covering the whole country. The estimation was done by kriging based on the 12 nearest neighbors (schools that participated in the PISA study) weighted by distance. These geostatistical predictions were weighted by distance only, not by any student or school weights.
The largest discovered group (39 % of students) was composed of students, which reported having support by family, feeling sense of solidarity in school and having no trouble with peers and teachers. The group was named as “Good social relationship”. The second largest group (24 %) was much alike the first one, except the students in this felt much lower family support. The group was named as “Low family support”. The third group (23 %) was characterized by very low family support, feeling to be outsider in school and experience of bullying, as well. The group was named as “Outsiders”. The fourth group (10 %) deviated from other groups mostly on the grounds of negative teacher experience. The group was named as “Difficult teacher experience”. The last group (5 %) was the poorest one in terms of social support. Students in this group were bullied, they had low sense on solidarity and they felt low family support. The group was named as “Bullied”. In the group “Good social relationship”, students had significantly higher science literacy than in other groups. The lowest science literacy was achieved by students in groups “Difficult teacher experience” and “Bullied”. The only group, in which boys had significantly lower science scores than girls, was “Low family support” group. In this group, the number of boys was greater than number of girls, as well. Another reason for girls’ better science achievement in Finland, was their greater number in the group “Good social support”, and lower number in the group “Difficult teacher experience”. The most remarkable finding about regional differences was the metropolitan area’s most favorable share of profiles in terms of social support. This explains the metropolitan area’s better achievements, when comparing with the rest of the country.
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