What the resource is:
The resource is a research brief that reports the findings of ‘Pupils' Self-Perceptions and Views of Primary School in Year 5', part of The Effective Pre-School and Primary Education 3-11 Project (EPPE 3-11)
, which was commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).
EPPE 3-11 is a longitudinal study which uses mixed methods including multi-level modelling to investigate the effects of home background, pre-school and primary education on pupils' attainment and social/ behavioural development. Due to the diverse nature of the groupings, the statistical method of multi-level modelling (also known as multi-level regression) was used to analyse the data. This would seem to be an appropriate choice because it enables links to be made between the different variables; e.g. academic effectiveness, pupil behaviour, perception and classroom practice that other methods would not address so rigorously.
This research brief presents findings for year 5 pupils:
- Differences in their self-perceptions (enjoyment of school, anxiety and isolation, academic and behavioural self-image);
- Their views of primary school (teachers' support for learning, head teacher qualities and positive social environment);
- Investigates their relationships with cognitive and social behavioural outcomes.
The aims of the resource:
There were two main aims:
- To establish whether child, family and Home Learning Environment (HLE) characteristics help to explain differences in the self perceptions and views of Year 5 children.
- To explore whether pupils' self-perceptions and views of primary school help to predict cognitive and social/behavioural outcomes.
It also investigated younger pupils' (year 2) self-perceptions and the relationship to later cognitive and social/behavioural outcomes in Year 5, and progress from Year 1 to Year 5.
Key findings or focus:
The research brief presents a detailed analysis of the factors investigated and key findings are discussed under the following main headings:
- Differences in pupils' self-perceptions
- Differences in pupils' views of primary school
- Relationships between pupils' self-perceptions and progress
- Relationships between pupils' views of primary school and progress
Overall, it suggests that children with a positive self-image (academic and behavioural) are also likely to experience positive progress and development in these areas, suggesting that there is a reciprocal relationship between children's views of themselves and levels of attainment and behaviour.
Formative feedback processes are suggested as a means to improving academic and behavioural self-image, creating a ‘positive achievement spiral'.
Positive experiences of school were also found to foster pupils' educational outcomes and greater enjoyment of school. Schools that encouraged pupil participation, and pupils having a positive view of the Headteacher, were both seen to add to the enjoyment concept. However, the authors note that ‘enjoyment of school' is not the only factor in predicting better attainment, progress or behaviour, but that experiencing a ‘positive social environment' is also likely to be important in promoting better cognitive and developmental progress. The authors discuss the factors determining a ‘positive social environment' and conclude that when "a child feels safe and peers are viewed friendly, both educational progress and social/behavioural development are likely to benefit" (p. 7).
The quality, authority and credibility of the resource:
The research brief offers a rigorous analysis of factors that may influence school improvement. It has significant reference to ITE because it highlights the interwoven nature of how pupils' views and experiences of school influence their future progress and development. Therefore, issues that influence aspects of the whole school environment, such as levels of support, feedback mechanisms, policy, teacher involvement and leadership (to name a few) have significant links with ITE.
The implications for ITE tutors/mentors:
The research brief's findings add weight to the recommendations of Excellence and Enjoyment (2003) and Every Child Matters (2003), and would enable debate to take place on how an effective school environment might be developed in terms of policy and classroom practice. Areas related to classroom practice, such as those of effective feedback and support strategies, could be highlighted before and during school placements.
The relevance to ITE students:
Students would find it useful to reflect upon the key findings within the research brief and discuss how effectively these may be translated into classroom practice. It would also serve to exemplify the policies stated above.
The following might be useful to read in conjunction with this resource:
Excellence and Enjoyment: a Strategy for Schools.
Every Child Matters:
EPPE 3-11 Project: