05 SES 10 A, Drop-Out and Early School Leaving
School failure is a major educational and social problem that education systems must deal with. This phenomenon is a manifestation of low academic achievement that affects students who obtain unsatisfactory and insufficient educational results during their schooling (De la Orden et al., 2001). Therefore, school failure implies the non-achievement of the minimum objectives stablished for compulsory education and hinders an optimal insertion into society.
The consequences of school failure are numerous and affect both at a student and social level. These consequences include those related to job dissatisfaction, unemployment or poor quality of life (Dowrick and Crespo, 2005; OECD, 2008). In fact, students who do not complete secondary education satisfactorily face greater situations of social disadvantage. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure the provision of a fair and quality education that contributes to the reduction of school failure in order to guarantee equal opportunities and the prevention of social exclusion (Choi and Calero, 2013; Tarabini and Bonal, 2016).
Reducing school failure means adopting a preventive approach that implies acting on occasional underachievement situations that precede school failure. However, making reality of this approach requires understanding and considering its determinants. In this respect, the scientific literature has shown that there are numerous factors that influence academic performance and, therefore, school failure.
Although these determinants are closely linked and interrelated (Glasman and Biniaminov, 1981; Nisar et al. 2017), they can be classified into three main groups: personal factors of the student, family factors and school factors. Regarding the first group, personal factors include numerous cognitive (Giofrè et al., 2017) and psychological (Lee and Stankov, 2018) variables, as well as other types of variables such as the students' gender (Heyder et al., 2017). Among family variables, parental involvement (Castro et al., 2015) or families’ socioeconomic status (Calderón Almendros et al., 2019) have demonstrated their influence on academic performance. Finally, school organisational aspects such as teacher-pupil ratios (Ajani and Akinyele, 2014), school characteristics (Choi and Calero, 2013) and teacher competencies (Toropova et al., 2019) have a strong influence on academic performance at a school level.
In order to identify the main determinants of school failure, this paper undertakes a systematic review of studies that have synthesised the effect of personal, family and school factors on academic performance over the last 25 years.
More specifically, this study aims to answer the following research questions: What variables influence students' academic performance? And to what extent is there meta-analytical evidence on the influence of each of these variables?
In order to achieve the objective and answer the research questions posed, a systematic review process was followed as described below: Firstly, a search in the main international databases (Web of Science, ERIC or Scopus, among others) was conducted. The search equation included terms relating to systematic reviews and meta-analyses and to students' academic performance. This search yielded more than 1200 results. After eliminating duplicate records, more than 500 publications remained. A first selection of these articles was made on the basis of their title and abstract. Each of the publications was reviewed independently by two researchers, with an agreement rate of over 90%. The following inclusion criteria were used in this selection process: 1. Type of study: meta-analyses aimed at assessing the influence of any type of variable on academic performance. 2. Design: quantitative. 3. Educational level: any educational level from kindergarten to university. 4. Population: general population, excluding specific populations. Likewise, documents published in a language other than English or Spanish were excluded, as well as those published in a format different to scientific article. The final selection of articles resulted in a total of 248 publications aimed at analysing the influence of different factors on students' academic performance. Finally, the articles were classified into three groups according to the factors they referred to: personal factors, family factors and school factors. Thus, the specific variables in each of the three groups were analysed.
The meta-analyses published in the last 25 years provide sufficient evidence to affirm that family, personal and school factors influence students' academic performance, being each of these three groups represented in the academic literature. The most studied factors are school factors, accounting for 58.47% of the total number of articles selected. Meta-analyses that study the influence of personal factors on academic performance account for 32.26% of the selected publications, while articles focusing on the study of family factors account for only 9.27% of the sample. With regard to the first group, variables such as teaching methodology, organisational aspects of the school and teacher characteristics have demonstrated their influence on academic performance. In this sense, meta-analytical research seems to be more focused on the study of different methodologies and interventions (79.31%), while interest in organisational and management aspects (13.79%) or variables linked to teacher characteristics have been less studied (7.59%). With regard to the students' personal factors, the incidence of a large number of variables was observed. Among them, the greatest interest was observed in psychological variables (41.97%), followed by cognitive variables (13.58%), health (12.35%), leisure time use (8.64%), genetic or biological aspects (8.64%) and violence or maltreatment (4.94%), with the remaining 9.88% responding to various aspects such as the student's gender or the support received throughout his or her life. Finally, among family factors, parental involvement, educational and cultural environment, and socio-economic status of the household seem to be the most studied variables at the meta-analytical level (40.09%, 22.73% and 18.18%, respectively). Among the remaining 18.18% of publications in which various family variables are considered, those studies linked to the student´s family background outstand.
Ajani, I. R., & Akinyele, O. B. (2014). Effects of student-teacher ratio on academic achievement of selected secondary school students in Port Harcourt Metropolis, Nigeria. Journal of Education and Practice, 24(5), 100-106. Almendros, I. C., Moya, O. C., & Gómez, M. T. R. (2019). School failure of disadvantaged students from a critical discourse analysis approach. education policy analysis archives, 27, 49. Castro, M., Expósito-Casas, E., López-Martín, E., Lizasoain, L., Navarro-Asencio, E., & Gaviria, J. L. (2015). Parental involvement on student academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational research review, 14, 33-46. Choi Á., & Calero J. (2013). Determinantes del riesgo de fracaso escolar en España en PISA-2009 y propuestas de reforma. Revista de Educacion, 362, 562-593. De la Orden, A., Oliveros, L., Makofozi, J. & González, C. (2001). Modelos de investigación de bajo rendimiento. Revista complutense de educación, 12(1), 159-17 Dowrick, P. W., & Crespo, N. (2005). School failure. In Handbook of Adolescent Behavioral Problems. Springer, Boston, MA. Giofrè, D., Borella, E., & Mammarella, I. C. (2017). The relationship between intelligence, working memory, academic self-esteem, and academic achievement. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 29(6), 731-747. Glasman, N. S., & Biniaminov, I. (1981). Input-Output Analyses of Schools. Review of Educational Research, 51(4), 509. Heyder, A., Kessels, U., & Steinmayr, R. (2017). Explaining academic‐track boys’ underachievement in language grades: Not a lack of aptitude but students’ motivational beliefs and parents’ perceptions? British Journal of Educational Psychology, 87(2), 205-223. Nisar, N., & Mahmood, K. (2017). Determinants of Students' Academic Achievement at Secondary School Level. Bulletin of Education and Research, 39(1), 145-158. OECD (2008). Education at a Glance. París: OECD Sipe, T. A., & Curlette, W. L. (1996). A meta-synthesis of factors related to educational achievement: A methodological approach to summarizing and synthesizing meta-analyses. International Journal of Educational Research, 25(7), 583-698. Lee, J., & Stankov, L. (2018). Non-cognitive predictors of academic achievement: Evidence from TIMSS and PISA. Learning and Individual Differences, 65, 50-64. Tarabini, A., & Bonal, X. (2016). Los principios de un sistema educativo que no deje a nadie atrás. Barcelona: Save the children. Toropova, A., Johansson, S., & Myrberg, E. (2019). The role of teacher characteristics for student achievement in mathematics and student perceptions of instructional quality. Education Inquiry, 10(4), 275-299.
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