According to recent educational research, students are more likely to perform well in maths and science if they have access to written resources at home.
Last week, the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) released a report comparing the performance of Australian students in maths and science with that of students from other countries. The report was based on an international study of children in Years 4 and 8. It found that Australia is falling behind in these subjects while other countries are rapidly improving.
It also showed that school is not the only environment that affects academic achievement.
ACER’s report, called Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2015: A first look at Australia’s results, revealed that a greater availability of books and other educational resources at home correlate with higher results in both maths and science.
Students who had access to many books at home were found to achieve much better results in these subjects, compared with those who only had an average number of books at home. At the other end of the scale, students with only a few books at home received the poorest results.
According to ACER, the number of books in the home was measured as one proxy for socieconomic status, indicating the ability of parents to provide materially for their children’s education.
The following results were compiled from the TIMSS 2015: A first look at Australia’s results educational research report.
Year 4: “Students who have many books in the home were found to have attained the highest levels of mathematics achievement, scoring, on average, 19 score points higher than students with an average number of books in the home, and 74 score points higher than those who reported having a few books in the home.
Year 8: “At this year level, the 21 per cent of students who report many books in the home gained a substantial advantage, scoring on average 26 score points higher than the next category of students and around three-quarters of a standard deviation, 73 score points, higher than students with a few books in the home. Even having an average number – between 25 and 200 books in the home – has a substantial relationship with achievement, with students in this category scoring, on average, half a standard deviation, 47 score points, higher than the students with just a few books in the home.
“Australian Year 8 students who had many educational resources at home performed, on average, 51 score points higher than those who had some resources, whose average achievement was 57 score points higher than those with few resources at home.”
Click here to read the full TIMSS 2015: A first look at Australia’s results report.