Petersburg sociologists came to shocking conclusions, figuring out what factors in the family and in the environment of the child most affect his academic performance.
Experts of PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) and TIMS (Trends in Mathematics and Science Study) argue that “children from families with higher family culture capital demonstrate higher educational results”.
However, a group of sociologists, led by Olga Sachava, a candidate of philological sciences and an undergraduate of “Education Management” program of the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, contradicted the view that the child’s performance depends both on the level of culture and on the family’s income, based on initial findings.
It turns out that neither the level of culture, nor the comfort of the home, nor the number of books on the shelves, nor the availability of money for the services of tutors, nor even the drunkenness of one of the parents does not directly affect the child’s performance.
Much more influence on the successes in school has … communication with grandparents, family values, family celebrations, personal satisfaction and professional self-realization of parents.
The researchers were shocked by the fact that important factors were factors that no one had previously paid attention to.
It turns out that 50% of pupils that excel live in the same household with their grandparents. And it does not matter where the children are preparing their lessons, in the kitchen or in the study. It does not matter whether they live in a communal flat or in a separate house, or if they live in poor neighborhoods (which there are still plenty of in St. Petersburg). The distribution of honor students and C-average students is evenly spread.
However, 40% of C-average students do not meet with their grandmothers and grandfathers at all.
More than 200 books are kept in the homes of families of 73% of honor students, but in the homes of 75% of C-average students the family library consists of 100 books.
The families of 5% of honor students and 6% of C-average students owned large libraries.
In low-income families, there were more honor students per person than C-average students. Of these families, 26% had C-average students and 30% had honor students.
Almost the same number of honor students and C-average students, 25% and 21% respectively, come from families with medium household income.
But obviously, a greater number of honor students, 67% in elementary and 73% in high school, live in families, where family celebrations are always celebrated. In the families of the majority of C-average students, family celebrations are rarely celebrated or not celebrated at all.
Sociologists saw a consistent pattern: the higher the family income and the lower the culture of family celebrations, the lower the grades of the child. And vice versa: the higher the culture of family celebrations in relation to the family’s income (average or even low), the higher the performance of the child in school.
The services of tutors, courses, the amount of money invested in them do not bring results in the form of good grades, if at the same time there is no clear and good communication between parents and the child in the family.
It’s an interesting fact that 56% of parents of honor students work, as they say, for self-fulfillment, and they receive satisfaction from their professional activities. As for the C-average students, their parents, in their own words, work “for money” in 80% of cases.
The researchers also found that, contrary to the prevailing opinion, the fact of parents’ drunkenness in itself is not decisive for poor schooling. However, if parents find the strength to recognize the problem and attempt to work on it, this positively affects the performance of the child.
“The school’s successes in children at all levels of education are directly influenced by the values of the family,” says Olga Sachava. “The more important the relationship is for the adults within the family, the greater the value of the family life for the parents (including the relations with older relatives), the more time parents dedicate to strengthening of family ties, the higher the school assessments of their child(ren). The well-structured intra-family ties testify to the psychological competence of parents. Torus that determines the child’s progress.”
And one more surprising regularity: the more happy the parents are, and regardless of the level of material wealth, the more successful their children are in school.
So communicate with relatives, organize celebrations at home, love your work, gladly accept your life, such as it is, and your children will learn well!
written by: Elena Mihaylova
translated by: Dmitriy Kushnir