Learners for Life
Cordula Artelt Jurgen Baumert Nele Julius-McElvany Jules Peschar
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What are students like as learners as they near the end of compulsory education? The answer matters greatly, not only because those with stronger approaches to learning get better results at school but also because young adults who are able to set learning goals and manage their own learning are much more likely to take up further study and become lifelong learners.
The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which surveys 15-year-olds in OECD countries on a three-yearly basis, provides a unique opportunity to look at how students approach learning and how well they perform in terms of reading literacy. This report analyses the results, focusing on students¿ motivation, self-beliefs and use of various learning strategies. In particular, it looks at those characteristics that together make it more likely that a student will become a confident and self-managed learner.
The results confirm strong links between student approaches to learning and measurable student outcomes. For example, students who demonstrate a strong interest in reading and are more confident of their ability to solve problems that they find difficult are more likely to perform well. The report also shows particularly strong links between students¿ tendency to control their own learning, by consciously monitoring progress towards personal goals, and their motivation and self-beliefs. This suggests that effective learning cannot simply be taught as a skill, but also depends heavily on developing positive attitudes.
The report offers policy makers a fine-grained analysis of which particular learner characteristics are prevalent in different countries. It also identifies differences between the approaches to learning of various groups, including male and female students, and those from more and less advantaged social backgrounds. The results point to ways in which education systems can focus efforts to help different groups of students become more effective learners.
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