The Age article, ‘Repeating grades ‘fails’ students’, discusses the results of recent studies conducted by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Two of the main conclusions drawn were:
- kids who are made to repeat grades perform poorly again the second time around
- students who switch schools because of poor academic performance do worse in their new environment.
While the news article concentrates on the first finding, I’d like to focus on the second.
The OECD suggests that when poorly performing students change schools, the new ones they attend often host a larger portion of kids of similar academic ability. As such, they are less likely to benefit from the influence of higher-achieving peers and positive role models.
This points to the fact that a positive learning environment, in which all children are striving for success, produces improved results. Herein lies one of the major benefits of Edworks.
The Edworks’ environment is a key factor in the substantial improvements we see in our students’ results. These benefits were also identified in Assoc. Prof. Munro’s findings in 2006 when he undertook a national study for the Federal Government Literacy Intervention (see below).
In line with Edworks’ practices, he advocates that while each child’s program should be individualised, the social context in which it is offered needs to allow for support and encouragement not only from teachers, but from fellow students as well.
In such scenarios, students find role models in other students — they are inspired by the successes of others. With many striving for the same goals, children not only get the best out of themselves, but out of each other. In this environment, as at Edworks, success breeds success.