Exploring contexts that enhance the learning for all students: The effect of student wellbeing on achievement and confidence to learn in school

Alison Gilmore, Mustafa Asil

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Wellbeing has become the new ‘je ne sais quoi’ for success, health, improvement and inclusiveness across many spheres of society. In education, student wellbeing is viewed as being key to successful school learning and improving the educational outcomes for students. The PISA 2015 New Zealand Students’ Wellbeing Report revealed that New Zealand (NZ) students had a lower sense of belonging at school than the OECD average; NZ Pacific students had a higher overall sense of belonging at school than non-Pacific students; NZ boys had a greater sense of belonging at school than girls; and since 2003, NZ students have reported a weakening sense of belonging at school.

Two aspects of wellbeing were explored within the New ZealandNational Monitoring Study of Student Achievement(NMSSA) – students’ sense of belonging at school, and students’ sense of feeling safe at school.

NMSSA is a sample-based national study designed to assess and understand student achievement across the New Zealand Curriculum at Year 4 and Year 8 in English-medium state and state-integrated schools. In seeking to understand factors that influence achievement, NMSSA collects data from students about their attitude and confidence to learn in each curriculum area. As part of its five-year cycle of assessment across the curriculum and to explore student wellbeing, NMSSA collected data in 2017 about students’ sense of belonging at school; and in 2018 about students’ sense of feeling safe at school.

Students’ achievement and confidence scale scores in science and health were examined in relation to ‘Belonging at School’ scale scores. Students’ achievement and confidence scale scores in mathematics and social studies were examined in relation to ‘Feeling Safe at School’. Other variables included year level, gender and ethnicity.

The variation in students’ achievement scale scores was largely explained by within-school variables rather than between-school variables (such as, school decile). Mean score differences in achievement between groups were revealed for year level, gender and ethnicity. Multi-level modeling (MLM) analyses revealed that the relationship of Belonging at School, Feeling Safe at School and confidence with achievement were positive and statistically significant. The findings suggest that achievement is also influenced by other aspects of wellbeing and/or other contextual variables.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAARE Conference Papers
PublisherAustralian Association for Research in Education
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
EventAustralian Association for research in education (AARE) Conference 2019 - Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 1 Dec 20195 Dec 2019
https://www.aare.edu.au/events/previous-aare-conferences/

Conference

ConferenceAustralian Association for research in education (AARE) Conference 2019
Abbreviated title(AARE) Conference 2019
CountryAustralia
CityBrisbane
Period1/12/195/12/19
Internet address

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