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Research summary

PISA 2012 Results Vol 3: Ready to Learn (2013)

20 Jul 2018

Attitude – perseverance, motivations, and self-belief – can help to overcome other forms of disadvantage.

As part of the PISA 2012 international comparisons of 15 year olds, the effects of engagement, drive and self-beliefs were also studied. Students’ engagement with school, the belief that they can achieve at high levels, and their ability and willingness to do what it takes to reach their goals not only play a central role shaping students’ ability to master academic subjects, they are also valuable attributes that will enable students to lead full lives, meet challenges and make the most of available opportunities along the way. In other words, much more is required of students and adults than just cognitive proficiency.

OECD. 2013. PISA 2012 Results: Ready to Learn Student’s Engagement, Drive and Self-Beliefs (Volume 3).

One of the key findings relating to mathematics is that in many countries, student motivation, self-belief and dispositions towards learning the subject are positively associated not only with how well they perform in mathematics, but also with how much better these students perform compared to other students in their school. 

There is evidence of the positive impact of parental engagement on student outcomes, with parents’ expectations being strongly and positively associated not only with students’ mathematics performance but also with positive dispositions towards learning. 

The findings show much of what National Numeracy would expect to see, that attitude – perseverance, motivations, and self-belief – can help to overcome other disadvantages. They also support the view that effort is the key to success, not innate talent.

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