Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Family Conflict and Student Achievement

How many teachers can relate to this story?

Robert Pondiscio at the Core Knowledge blog recently summed up the findings of a new study on the impact of family conflict on student achievement:

Children from troubled families perform “considerably worse” on standardized reading and mathematics tests and are much more likely to commit disciplinary infractions and be suspended than other students, according to a new study. Writing in Education Next, Scott Carrell of UC-Davis and the University of Pittsburgh’s Mark Hoekstra offer evidence that “a single disruptive student can indeed influence the academic progress made by an entire classroom of students.”

Robert adds his own thoughtful interpretation of the study's findings:

Poll teachers in struggling schools, and I will wager a substantial amount that classroom disruption is identified consistently as the primary barrier to student achievement. Yet it is consistently glossed over or dismissed, typically attributed to a teacher’s lack of classroom management skills. I have long believed that the time on-task lost to disruption and behavior problems is almost certainly one of the under-discussed root causes of the achievement gap. This study does a great service by confirming what many teachers and parents have intuited for years: disruption matters and has a negative effect on all students.


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