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Inside Teaching : April 2010
www.atra.edu.au | firstname.lastname@example.org RESEARCH 37 Two steps forward Two steps forward That study, ‘Contextual factors that influence the achievements of Australia’s Indigenous students: Results from PISA 2000-2006,’ draws on three cycles of data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and describes the affective behaviours and background factors that influence Indigenous student achievement. PISA Established by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 1997, PISA aims to monitor the outcome of education systems worldwide. It measures how well 15-year olds nearing the end of compulsory education are prepared for life beyond the schoolyard by testing their skills in reading, mathematics and science using questions that draw on real-life situations. PISA was first carried out in 2000 and has continued every three years since. As well as assessing their performance, students are asked to fill out a questionnaire detailing their demographic, social and educational background, providing information for analysis and comparison – in this case, allowing for Indigenous and non- Indigenous students to be compared. Home and educational background The 2000 to 2006 PISA findings leave no doubt: Indigenous students start school life on the back foot. Fewer Indigenous students had a parent with a university degree and significantly more had parents who had completed only some secondary school. Greater numbers, compared to non- Indigenous students, lived in single- parent families or with a parent and a guardian. Fewer Indigenous students than non-Indigenous students had a computer, internet access, a desk or textbooks for study at home. They were more likely to arrive late for school on a regular basis, sometimes missing school for months at a time. While the majority of Indigenous students attended some preschool, fewer of them spent more than one year at preschool. Student attitudes, en gagement, motivation and beliefs Reading and science appealed significantly less to Indigenous