Against the Odds: Disadvantaged Students Who Succeed in School
Against the Odds takes a close look at the resilient students who excel in PISA surveys despite a disadvantaged background. The report shows that overcoming barriers to achievement is possible, and provides students, parents, policy makers and other education stakeholders with insights into what enables socio-economically disadvantaged students to fulfill their potential.
This report also considers the way in which school learning environments can make a difference in the performance of socio-economically disadvantaged students. PISA data suggest that an increase in the number of science courses and hours of study may benefit disadvantaged students more than other students. Disadvantaged students are often not exposed to much science at school; however, those who do attend more science classes seem better equipped to close the performance gap between them and their more advantaged peers and perform better in school.
Resilient students are characterised by their positive approaches to learning or, more specifically in this report, increased self-confidence or interest in science. The evidence in PISA shows that positive approaches to learning tend to boost the performance of socio-economically advantaged students more than that of disadvantaged ones. Therefore, in their aim to foster positive learning approaches, policies should target disadvantaged students more than others.