Most people know that schools in higher socio-economic areas produce better students. However the fact remains that schools in similar socio-economic areas can produce vastly different quality of students. Why is this so?
A recent study performed by researchers at Stanford University looked into the differences found in high performing schools. Over 4,000 teachers, principals, and superintendents in California were surveyed. Only the middle grades were surveyed. This is because the middle grades are where many students begin to lose ground in key subject areas such as mathematics.
The survey asked school personnel about the existence of practices and policies in their schools. The assumption of the study was that differences in the high performing schools could be found in the implementation of specific policies and practices that foster an environment of high achievement.
The study, which you can access here demonstrated that higher performing middle grade schools demonstrate an intense focus on improving student academic outcomes and preparing their students for a rigorous high school curriculum. This finding seemed to be universally true regardless of whether the focus was on one-year or longitudinal data or a predominant demographic such as income level.
Superintendents, principals, teachers, students, and parents alike were held responsible for learning in the high performing schools. High performing schools set measurable objectives and held everyone in the system responsible for student learning.
When I read this study I was struck with the parallel to systematic self monitoring as a key component to student success. When students self monitor their homework assignments and when their parents double check their self monitoring activities, families are essentially developing an objective, “fool proof” way of ensuring success.
Researchers in the Stanford study found that educators and parents play a crucial role in the mastery of learned material. The study also concluded that: providing user-friendly student data is critical to high performing schools.
As an expert on improving student performance I agree with this notion 100 percent. Essentially the Academic Monitoring Journal students learn to use in cognitive behavioral interventions parallel the “user friendly student data” for tracking student performance that the Stanford study references. Both students and parents need a simple, easy system to reference what assignments are due and the progress that has been made to date.
Another similarity to the cognitive behavioral approach to improving student performance and the study’s findings are seen in the statement, “High performing schools set measurable objectives and held everyone in the system responsible for student learning.”
Self Monitoring provides for students to set measurable objectives. Parents assume a supervisory role in double checking their journal and in this respect the family unit is held responsible for the student’s learning.
To learn more about self monitoring or how you can improve your student’s academic performance, contact Dr. Michael Bishop for a free initial consultation.