Against the Odds

Disadvantaged Students Who Succeed in School

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Many socio-economically disadvantaged students excel in PISA. Students who succeed at school despite a disadvantaged background -- resilient students -- are the focus of Against the Odds. The report shows that overcoming barriers to achievement is possible, and provides students, parents, policy makers and other education stakeholders insights into what enables socio-economically disadvantaged students to fulfil their potential. Resilient students are characterised by positive approaches to learning, for example, having more interest in science or having more self-confidence. The evidence in PISA shows that positive approaches to learning tend to boost the performance of advantaged students more than that of disadvantaged ones. From an equity perspective, therefore, policies aimed at fostering positive approaches to learning ought to target disadvantaged students more than others.




Most of the students who perform poorly in PISA share a challenging socio-economic background. Some of their socio-economically disadvantaged peers, however, excel in PISA and beat the odds working against them. This report focuses on resilient students; those who succeed at school despite a disadvantaged background. These individuals show what is possible and provide students, parents, policy makers and other education stakeholders with insights into the drivers of skills and competencies among socio-economically disadvantaged students.


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