Student achievement research papers

This is characterised by the presence of student clinics for the treatment of diseases, injuries and other forms of ailments. As discussed later in this chapter, there is a need to come up with school-based interventions that address the overall health and wellness of students. Academic achievement, also referred as academic performance, is the outcome of education, the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals.

Academic achievement represents performance outcomes that indicate the extent to which a person has accomplished specific goals that were the focus of activities in instructional environments that include schools, colleges and universities. School systems mostly define cognitive goals that either apply across multiple subject areas such as critical thinking or include the acquisition of knowledge and understanding in a specific intellectual domain such as numeracy, literacy, science or history, among others.

Academic achievement, therefore, should be considered to be a multifaceted construct covering multiple domains of learning [ 13 ]. Academic achievement is commonly measured by examinations or continuous assessment. There is, however, no general agreement on how it is best tested or which aspects are most important. Some of the yardsticks that have been used to measure academic achievement include procedural knowledge such as skills or declarative knowledge such as facts.

Among the many criteria that indicate academic achievement, there are very general indicators such as knowledge acquired in an educational system, more curricular-based criteria such as grades or performance on an educational achievement test, and cumulative indicators of academic achievement such as educational degrees and certificates.

Individual differences in academic performance have been linked to differences in intelligence and personality. Students with higher mental ability as demonstrated by IQ tests and those who are higher in conscientiousness linked to effort and achievement motivation tend to achieve highly in academic settings.

Relationship of Physical Activity to Academic Achievement - Steven Kelder, PhD

Although the primary goal of educational institutions is to achieve higher standards in terms of academic performance, research shows that academic achievement is influenced by multiple factors. Health has been seen as one of the key factors that influence academic performance. Research evidence reveals that students with poor health have a higher probability of school failure, grade retention and dropout. Previous studies found that the health services provided at school can alleviate the problem of absenteeism, late-coming and undisciplined student behaviour, and increase graduation rate.

However, the relationship between student health and academic success is complex because health is a broad concept which is complex to define. Previous research has found some significant relationship between specific attributes of health and academic achievement.


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For example, previous research found an association between nutrition and physical activity with higher academic performance [ 15 ]. Overweight and hypertension are associated with decreased cognitive function, and overweight is associated with poorer school performance [ 16 ]. In contrast, higher levels of physical activity have been associated with better cognitive function, such as enhanced concentration and memory [ 17 ]. Results of a randomised control trial carried out in demonstrated that overweight students randomised to a week exercise program exhibited dose-response benefits of exercise on executive function and mathematics achievement as well as preliminary evidence of enhanced brain activity measured via functional magnetic resonance imaging MRI [ 18 ].


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  • In a longitudinal study carried out in the United States of America, the findings revealed that after accounting for family characteristics, adolescents with poorer general health were found to be less likely than healthier students to graduate from high school on time and attend college or post-secondary education [ 19 ]. A study by researchers at the University of Washington found that Washington state schools with a lower prevalence of substance abuse also had higher scores on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning WASL [ 21 ].

    This association between health and academic achievement was illustrated in more detail in a study that was carried out among our own Washington youth in The study examined the relationship using data collected from Washington state students who took the Healthy Youth Survey. The survey took place in classrooms and had questions about a variety of health factors and academic indicators, such as what grades the student usually gets in school.

    For each specific risk factor, the difference in academic risk by health risk factor was statistically significant, including after adjusting for gender and socio-economic status [ 22 ].

    Introduction

    Modern-day students who are involved in school and other extra-curricular activities experience a toll on their physical and mental health. Having a mental illness is a difficult thing to deal with, especially as a teen. Mental health disorders can affect social interactions, inability to screen out environmental stimuli sounds, sights or smells which may be distracting to the student , inability to concentrate, lack of stamina, handling time pressures and multiple tasks, handling negative feedback and the response to change.

    Mental illness therefore has a great impact on academic achievement. Mental illness can be linked to poor attendance, particularly frequent absences for vague, non-specific physical health problems. It has also caused difficulties with academic work such as social integration, adjustment to school, behaviour regulation, attention and concentration [ 23 ]. The results show that mental illness affects attendance, perceived competence and concentration [ 25 ].

    Attendance : High-school students who screen positive for psychosocial dysfunction have three times the absentee and tardy rates of students not identified with psychosocial dysfunction. Perceived competence : Students reporting high levels of psychosocial stress are more likely to perceive themselves as less academically competent.

    Concentration : Students with greater depression symptoms are more likely to report difficulty concentrating in class and completing homework. Anxiety : Anxiety disorders, which affect People with a lifetime occurrence of social phobia are almost twice as likely to fail a grade or not finish high school as those who have never had the condition. Depression : High depression scores have been associated with low academic achievement; high scholastic anxiety; increased school suspensions; and decreased ability or desire to complete homework, concentrate and attend class.

    Substance use disorders : Substance abuse, including alcohol abuse in isolation, is significantly associated with termination of primary and secondary school, failure to enter college and termination of college.

    A study by the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey carried out in found that the more health risks students had, the more likely it was that they also were at academic risk. About half of students with six health risk factors, and two-thirds or more of students with at least nine health risk factors were at academic risk [ 26 ]. The World Health Organisation observes that health is created and lived by people within the settings of their everyday life, where they learn, work, play and love.

    The Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion advocates setting-based approaches to health promotion.

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    Schools therefore play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviours. School health programmes can play a vital role in reducing the prevalence of health risk behaviours among young people and have a positive effect on academic performance. Schools can be a context where children can learn and practise positive health behaviours within a health-promoting environment.

    Clearly, there are many possibilities for school-based health interventions. School staff and partners may gravitate towards classroom-based or individual-based health education because it is the traditional way to reach students at school. Examples of policies that may be implemented include the use of signpost to restrict smoking in some designated areas, restricting the availability of certain food products that are considered unhealthy and offering incentives to students to encourage them to lead healthy lifestyles. Prevention is better than cure. Information has played a critical role in disease prevention and the cost of information-based solutions is much less compared to the cost of treating patients.

    Information is a useful resource in catalysing behaviour change among school children. Disseminating health information can improve knowledge transfer from health professionals to the student population, and helps them to maintain and improve their health. Schools can introduce health intervention strategies aimed increasing awareness on a number of health issues that include food and nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, alcohol and drug abuse, depression and anxiety, physical exercise among other key health topics.

    Schools should use a variety of media and channels to disseminate health information, including posters, websites, nurses and social media. Health education programmes can help students develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours needed to adopt healthy behaviours. Educational interventions can also enhance knowledge and help-seeking among college students.

    Fitness and wellness courses have been seen as agents of change for modifying unhealthy lifestyles among college students. There is evidence that well-taught fitness and wellness classes have the potential to positively affect the attitudes and behaviours of the students that enrol in them. Educational modules are an important tool for health information dissemination and behaviour change.

    Conceptually based wellness courses, which are also referred to as lecture laboratories, have been designed to promote physical education and wellness among college students. The courses are an alternative to the traditional skill-based physical education courses. The courses consist of lectures and laboratory experiments. The lecture part of the course is designed to promote learning of conceptual information related to fitness and wellness and health behaviour change theory as well as learning of self-management skills that result in real-world application.

    The laboratory sessions are designed to provide students with hands on skills on matters related to wellness and physical exercises [ 28 ]. Supportive health services are targeted interventions or support for selected students, as well as provision of a broad range of services that can influence health. For example, school nurses and counsellors refer students who currently smoke to cessation classes or other help for quitting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention observes that supportive services can have a high impact on individual students, but only for the selected students who would have been identified as students at risk.

    These services usually require relatively more staff resources to sustain. For example, individual counselling programmes for students at risk for substance abuse may effectively impact the behaviour of individual students, but may not impact the prevalence of substance abuse at the school as a whole, because they only reach a small number of students [ 29 ]. As discussed earlier on in this article, health is a complex phenomenon that is influenced by multiple factors.

    Therefore, stand-alone interventions that focus on specific health problems may not be effective in addressing the overall health needs of students [ 30 ]. Many health promotion bodies that include the Jed Foundation and the National Centre for the Dissemination of Disability Research have advocated for integrated health intervention strategies.

    Families, health care workers, the media, religious organizations, community organizations that serve youth, and young people themselves also must be systematically involved. However, schools could provide a critical facility in which many agencies might work together to maintain the well-being of young people [ 31 ].

    Intervention programmes that include more than one approach can create synergy, and eliminate unnecessary duplication of effort and wastage of resources human and capital. The Guide to Community Preventive Services , which conducts rigorous reviews of health interventions, found strong evidence in support for the effectiveness of integrated health interventions.

    The review found a link between integrated interventions and reduction in violence and sexual risk behaviours in adolescents [ 32 ]. Research evidence reveals a complex relationship between health and academic achievement. Studies that have been carried out show a significant correlation between academic performance and health problems such as mental illness, depression and anxiety, vision and oral health problems, asthma, teen pregnancy, malnutrition, obesity, chronic stress, aggression and violence, unsafe sexual activity, unhealthy eating, physical inactivity and substance abuse.

    The effects of such health problems include poor retention, school failure, grade retention, school dropout, absenteeism and poor concentration. Research has also revealed that the more health risks students had, the more likely it was that they also were at academic risk.

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    Schools and universities are in a unique position of educating students about life in general and more specifically about diseases. Schools should create enabling environments and policies that and support services promote student health individually and collectively. Comprehensive school health services, which comprise multiple interventions, are said to positively contribute to the academic performance of students.

    Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3. Help us write another book on this subject and reach those readers. Login to your personal dashboard for more detailed statistics on your publications. Edited by Blandina Bernal-Morales. Edited by Bishnu Pal. We are IntechOpen, the world's leading publisher of Open Access books.

    Built by scientists, for scientists. Our readership spans scientists, professors, researchers, librarians, and students, as well as business professionals. Downloaded: Abstract There is a statistically significant relationship between health and academic achievement. Keywords student health academic achievement health interventions. Introduction The primary objective of education institutions is to achieve education standards.

    Methods The search was done in three stages. A broader view of health There have been modifications on the original definition that was proposed by WHO in WHO redefined health from a broader perspective: Health has been considered less as an abstract state and more as a means to an end which can be expressed in functional terms as a resource which permits people to lead an individually, socially, and economically productive life. Emphasis on wellness It is interesting to note that the issue of well-being or wellness features a lot in the proposed definitions of health.

    The eight dimensions of wellness proposed by The National Wellness Institute are: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical, cultural, occupational, social, environmental and precepts for wellness [ 12 ]. Academic achievement and health Academic achievement, also referred as academic performance, is the outcome of education, the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals. Health risks that may influence student achievement. Health interventions that influence academic achievement The World Health Organisation observes that health is created and lived by people within the settings of their everyday life, where they learn, work, play and love.

    Health-promoting school policies, procedures and environments Clearly, there are many possibilities for school-based health interventions. Clearly one way is in lower levels of physical and educational resourcing, but other less obvious ways include lower expectations of teachers and parents, and lower levels of student self-efficacy, enjoyment and other non-cognitive outcomes.

    If the role of education is not simply to reproduce inequalities in society then we need to understand what the role of socioeconomic background more clearly. While much research has been undertaken in the past 50 years, and we are fairly certain that socioeconomic background does have an effect on educational achievement, we are no closer to understanding how this effect is transmitted.

    Until we are, it will remain difficult to address. In this edition of Science of Learning, two further contributions to this body of knowledge have been added—and perhaps indicate new paths that need to be followed to develop this understanding. Coleman, J. Smith-Woolley, E. Differences in exam performance between pupils attending selective and non-selective schools mirror the genetic differences between them. DNA methylation signatures of educational attainment.

    Sirin, S. Socioeconomic status and academic achievement: a meta-analytic review of research. Hauser, R. Measuring socioeconomic status in studies of child development. Bogges, S. Family structure, economic status, and educational attainment. Krein, S. Educational attainment of children from single-parent families: differences by exposure, gender and race. Demography 25 , — Downey, D. Scanlon, E. Residential mobility and youth well-being: research, policy, and practice issues. Filmer, D.

    Health, Academic Achievement and School-Based Interventions

    The effect of household wealth on educational attainment: evidence from 35 countries. Palardy, G. Differential school effects among low, middle and high social class composition schools: a multi-group, multilevel latent growth curve analysis. Perry, L. Does the SES of the school matter? An examination of socioeconomic status and student achievement using PISA PISA results.

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    Thomson, S. Marks, G. Is SES really that important for educational outcomes in Australia? A review and some recent evidence.

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    Evans, M. Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. Schmidt, W. The role of schooling in perpetuating educational inequality: an international perspective. Download references. Correspondence to Sue Thomson. Publisher's note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

    Reprints and Permissions. Sustainability Frontiers in Psychology Advanced search. Skip to main content. Subjects Education Society. What do we mean by socioeconomic background? How are these effects transmitted? Conclusions If the role of education is not simply to reproduce inequalities in society then we need to understand what the role of socioeconomic background more clearly.