Student Achievement: Definition, Factors & Research

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  • 0:00 What Is Student Achievement?
  • 1:54 Factors That Impact…
  • 4:08 What the Research Says
  • 4:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Vanessa Carter
What is student achievement? This lesson provides a general definition of student achievement, defines factors that impact a student's ability to achieve and explains what research shows about successful student achievement.

What is Student Achievement?

Student achievement has become a hot topic in education today, especially with increased accountability for classroom teachers. The ultimate goal for any teacher is to improve the ability level and prepare students for adulthood. Defining student achievement and factors that impact progress is critical to becoming a successful teacher.

Student achievement measures the amount of academic content a student learns in a determined amount of time. Each grade level has learning goals or instructional standards that educators are required to teach. Standards are similar to a 'to-do' list that a teacher can use to guide instruction. Student achievement will increase when quality instruction is used to teach instructional standards.

For instance, you have a to-do list that involves three tasks: dropping off the cleaning, filling your gas tank, and studying for a final. Questions you may ask yourself are: In what order do I accomplish my tasks? How am I going to get each task finished? Should I study at the library where it is quieter or at home where I may be distracted? Is it worth it to purchase gas a few blocks from home at a higher price or drive a short distance to save money? Your goal is to get your to-do list finished in the most efficient and timely way possible.

When teaching, you must use the same process when addressing instructional standards. Questions you should ask to successfully complete your 'to-do list' or learning standards in a timely and efficient manner include: What type of students do I have? How am I going to teach the standard? Will they understand the vocabulary? How long do I think it will take for students to fully learn the material?

Successful instruction of standards results in student achievement. However, knowing the 'what' and the 'how' is just the first step to successful student achievement. Understanding the factors that can impact a student's ability to learn is equally important.

Factors that Impact Student Achievement

There are many variables that can impact successful student achievement, but the most critical are classroom instruction and learning disabilities. It is important to remember that all students do not learn the same way or at the same rate. Students are like leaves on a tree; there are no two exactly the same. Just as a leaf comes in unique colors, shapes and sizes, each student has their own unique learning style. You must use a variety of teaching methods and understand the background and individual needs of each student.

Classroom instruction is the most important factor that impacts student achievement. As a teacher you influence the quality of instruction, set expectations for learning, and measure the level of understanding. For example, when a standard is not presented in a way that a student can understand, or if it's taught in a way that is boring, it can be very difficult for a student to meet the required level of achievement.

A good teacher will use strategies such as discussion among students, videos, or stories, to gain student attention and to support the learning process. You should constantly be thinking of ways to make learning fun and appropriate. For example, in looking at our to-do list, you may pre-pay for your cleaning to get a discount or join a friend to make the study session more interesting. Likewise, student achievement involves well-thought out strategies to improve the quality of learning!

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