09 SES 08 B, Longitudinal Assessments of Student Achievement and Attitudes
Parallel Paper Session
Learning to learn is defined as the willingness and the ability to settle down to novel tasks (Hautamäki, & al., 2010). It is assessed by administering cognitive tasks measuring general reasoning and thinking skills, and self-evaluation scales measuring beliefs and attitudes towards learning (Hautamäki & al., 2002). The Centre for Educational Assessment at the University of Helsinki has developed Finnish Learning-to-learn -scales for 1st, 3rd/4th, 6th/7th, and 9th grades and upper secondary school, and participated in the development of an European learning to learn instrument (Kupiainen & al., 2008).
This paper reports on a longitudinal study in which development of pupils’ preparedness for learning is followed throughout the nine-year comprehensive school. It concentrates on relationships between cognitive skills and school success measured by a learning preparedness test, achievement on reading and mathematics tests in second grade and teacher reports in the beginning of fourth grade, and their relations to children’s popularity and peer groups in second grade. The aim is to find out what kind of role cognitive skills and school success play in how peer groups develop in the beginning of comprehensive school and what kinds of factors affect the formation of peer groups for boys and girls.
The cognitive component of learning to learn was assessed in the beginning of the longitudinal study by a learning preparedness test, in which the tasks were measuring development of horizontal and vertical axes (adapted from Piaget & Inhelder, 1956), visuo-spatial memory (adapted from Wilson & al. 1987), analogical reasoning skills (adapted from Hosenfeld & al., 1997), and capacity to follow teacher’s instructions (adapted from Elkonin, cited in Райгородский, 2008). Earlier analyses of the current longitudinal data (Vainikainen & al., 2011a) show that these are relevant components of learning preparedness in predicting later success in mathematics and reading. Success in mathematics and reading is evaluated both by standardized tests and teacher-reported estimates of school marks.
Popularity in peer group and school achievement have been associated for decades but there are different theories of causality of the relationship. School success may play a role in what kind of a social group a child belongs to (see Brown and Lohr, 1987). On the other hand belonging to a specific group can affect school success if the peers are supportive and school-oriented (Sieber, 1979; cited in Wentzell and Caldwell, 1997). The present study tries to add to the understanding of this causality to facilitate intervening in undesirable development of some peer groups’ negative attitudes towards school and learning, and on the other hand detecting early signs of later academic problems.
1. Do children’s cognitive skills and school success play a role in how peer groups develop in the beginning of comprehensive school? What kinds of other factors are explaining the formation of subgroups within different classes for boys and girls?
2. Do popularity and belonging to a specific peer group predict girls’ and boys’ later success at school and in external assessment?
Brown, B.B., Lohr, M.J. (1987). Peer group affiliation and adolescent self-esteem: An integration of ego-identity and symbolic interaction theories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 47-55. Hautamäki A., Hautamäki J. & Kupiainen S. (2010) Assessment in Schools – Learning to Learn. International Encyclopedia of Education 2010(3), 268–272. Hautamäki, J., Arinen, P., Hautamäki, A. & al.. (2001). Ensiaskeleet – oppimisen edellytykset: Luokanopettajille tarkoitetun seulan toimivuus Helsinki-aineiston perusteella. City of Helsinki, Publication series A17: 2001. Hautamäki, J., Arinen, P., Eronen, S. & al.(2002). Assessing Learning-to-learn: A framework. Helsinki: National Board of Education. Hosenfeld, B., van den Boom, D.C., Resing, W.C.M (1997). Constructing geometric analogies test for the longitudinal testing of elementary school children. Journal of Educational Measurement, 34(4), 367-372. Ikäheimo, H., Putkonen, H., & Voutilainen, A. (2002). Matematiikan keskeisen oppiaineksen kokeet luokille 1-9 [Mathematical basic concepts and contents exams for grades 1 to 9]. Kupiainen, S., Hautamäki, J., Rantanen, P. (2008). EU pre-pilot on learning to learn: Report on the compiled data. Lindeman, J. (2000). ALLU Ala-Asteen Lukutesti: Tekniset tiedot [ALLU Reading Test for Primary School: Technical information]. University of Turku. Piaget, J., Inhelder, B. (1956). The Child’s Conception of Space. Райгородский, Д.Я. (ed.)(2008). Энциклопедия психодиагностики. Психодиагностика детей, 177-179. Vainikainen, M.P., Gustavson, N., Kupiainen, S., Marjanen, J. (2011a). Validity of a learning-to-learn screening test for first graders in predicting later success in mathematics and reading. Paper presented in ECER 2011, Berlin. Vainikainen, M.P., Marjanen, J., Kupiainen, S., Gustavson, N., Hautamäki, J. (2011b). Oppimaan oppiminen Vantaan peruskouluissa: Ensiluokkalaisten oppimisvalmiudet syksyllä 2010. City of Vantaa. 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. Wilson, J.T.L., Scott, J.H., Power, K.G. (1987). Developmental differences in the span of visual memory for pattern. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 5, 249-255.
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