Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


TV, Pop Quizzes and Group Work May Hinder Educational Achievement

Factors influential to students’ academic performance differ between countries

In his doctoral thesis, Finnish PISA Researcher Pasi Reinikainen studied the country-specific factors connected to the science achievement of eighth-grade students in Finland, England, Hungary, Japan, Russia and Latvia.

-It is naïve to think that some countries could improve their students’ achievement by copying some features of e.g. Finnish educational system and then pasting them on to their own educational systems. The national systems and cultures just cannot be changed so easily. Instead of mimicking others, nations should focus on developing further the national factors connected to students’ good or weak achievement, says Reinikainen.

Focusing on national features is the key to better educational achievement

Reinikainen’s doctoral thesis shows some specific national and cultural features, which the parents and teachers, as well as the research and development of educational systems, should focus on in their attempts to improve the students’ science achievement.

Parents of Finnish students should be aware of the amount of time their children spend watching TV and monitor the programmes their children watch. The time Finnish students spend watching TV correlates negatively with their achievement in science. Watching news, nature programmes and documents, however seems to have a positive effect on science achievement, Reinikainen explains.

In England, attention should be paid to test frequency. Students who were given tests almost continuously were found to score lower in science than those who were given tests rarely or not at all. The schools giving frequent quizzes and tests, and the nature of these exams, call for further study.

The Hungarian educational system could be improved by making the students do less pair and group work, as they were found to be connected to weak science achievement. Project work was found to have a similar effect.

- Often only a few students in the group focus on the task at hand, while the others merely look on. The teachers could take a more active role in guiding group and project work, Reinikainen says.

In Japan, parents should pay attention to the ways their children spend their time. Japanese students do not normally have much spare time since school or school-related activities take a lion’s share of their time. In Japan, the time students spend with their friends has a negative effect on science achievement.

In Latvia, student-centered approach in teaching predicts weaker science achievement and, in Russia, memorizing textbook material and relying on good luck turned out to be very weak learning strategies.

Ranking lists of comparative achievement studies misleading

There is currently a worldwide boom of large-scale international comparative student achievement studies. However, the major outcome of these studies (PISA, TIMSS, CIVICS, etc.) seems to be numerous ranking lists of separate educational contents. These rankings are not necessarily linked with student learning outcomes in the studied countries, and can often be misleading if used in educational policy making. Huge databases are collected in these assessments but unfortunately the information is often not utilized to its full potential.

Reinikainen’s doctoral dissertation utilized one of these databases, TIMSS 1999, and explored it much deeper than merely to produce a ranking list. The goal of his study was to reveal significant predictors of student science achievement in Finland, England, Hungary, Japan, Latvia and Russia, and to explain the various cultural situations where those achievements have been made.

For public audience, Reinikainen’s study offers an inside perspective on international comparative student assessments. It gives answers to the questions what these studies can do, what they cannot do, and what they should and perhaps could do in the future.

Liisa Harjula | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>