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UK’s disadvantaged kids among the least likely to succeed in global study
I caught mention of this report from the OECD on the Today programme. It makes for depressing
The research shows that the UK is well below the average in rankings of the
‘resilience’ of it’s most disadvantaged students.
Resilient pupils are those that, “succeed
against the odds”, beating their peers from
similar socio-economic backgrounds in
terms of achievement, and being in the top
quarter of similar students internationally.
The international average for students
showing resilience is 31%, for the UK just
24% of students fall into such a category.
This puts the UK 35th in the list of 65
countries and regions (click the image on the right to enlarge).
You will note that some countries / regions get the majority of their
disadvantaged students to show resilience- to gain levels of achievement that
rank them in the top 25% internationally for students of a similar socio-economic
Motivation and Self-confidence
The publication stresses the need for sufficient time in a classroom with a
teacher. It also highlights the importance of student motivation and self-
confidence. It states that students’ self-confidence in their own abilities was closely linked to
It’s Dweck time
The report concludes that, “All of these findings suggest that schools may have an important role to
play in fostering resilience. They could start by providing more opportunities for disadvantaged
students to learn in class by developing activities, classroom practices and teaching methods that
encourage learning and foster motivation and self-confidence
among those students. High-quality mentoring programmes, for example, have been shown to be
particularly beneficial. Focusing these activities on disadvantaged students is crucial, as they are the
students who are least likely to receive this support elsewhere.”
Dweck’s ideas about Mindset give us a tangible model in which to place these findings, and a
mechanism by which we can develop the self-confidence and motivation of students.
The report begins by posing the reader a question: “Are socio-economically disadvantaged
students condemned to perpetuate an intergenerational cycle of poor academic achievement, poor
job prospects and poverty?”
A focus on developing growth mindsets in learners can only improve resilience, and go some way
towards saying preventing the perpetuation of inequality.