Cogent Education (2016-12-01)

A systematic review of factors linked to poor academic performance of disadvantaged students in science and maths in schools

  • Pallavi Amitava Banerjee

DOI
https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2016.1178441
Journal volume & issue
Vol. 3, no. 1

Abstract

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Socio-economic hardships put children in an underprivileged position. This systematic review was conducted to identify factors linked to underachievement of disadvantaged pupils in school science and maths. What could be done as evidence-based practice to make the lives of these young people better? The protocol from preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) was followed. Major electronic educational databases were searched. Papers meeting pre-defined selection criteria were identified. Studies included were mainly large-scale evaluations with a clearly defined comparator group and robust research design. All studies used a measure of disadvantage such as lower SES, language barrier, ethnic minority or temporary immigrant status and an outcome measure like attainment in standardised national tests. A majority of papers capable of answering the research question were correlational studies. The review reports findings from 771 studies published from 2005 to 2014 in English language. Thirty-four studies were synthesised. Results suggest major factors linking deprivation to underachievement can be thematically categorised into a lack of positive environment and support. Recommendations from the research reports are discussed.

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