Market Research Finds Stressed Students Perform Less Well in GCSEs

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5th September 2013 12:59 - Education

Research in to GCSE attainment has found that students who are concerned about their attainment to the degree that it causes them stress are seemingly more likely to perform worse than those who display fewer signs of stress. In fact, the findings suggest that grades may slip by as much as a grade and a half – i.e. from an A* to a B.. The research, completed with 325 pupils in North-West England, focussed on teens in the three to four months before taking their GCSE exams and asked them to give their level of agreement with 44 statements which looked at three distinct areas of the run up to GCSE exams – worries about the exams themselves, confidence in their ability to deal with their concerns and any strategies they used to aid themselves in dealing with these concerns.

The findings, which will today be presented to the British Education Research Association (Bera), suggested a link between overly stressed students, and poor performance in examinations – this link was noticeable even when students’ prior achievements were taken in to consideration.

Still on the topic of boosting exam grades and methods to assist that, another piece of research carried out by a different organisation (which will also be presented to Bera) looked at the benefits of the Teach First programme. Teach First trains high-achieving graduates in the skills needed to be a successful teacher and to help them find jobs in schools in challenging areas and has been operating since 2002. The research found that, among students taking eight GCSE subjects, those at a school in which Teach First teachers were present were likely to see a boost of a grade in one of their selected subjects. These findings were taken from data from 168 secondary schools participating in the programme in 2003-2004 and 2009-2010 and demonstrated that whilst there was no improvement to the school in the first year in which Teach First teachers were involved, there were benefits in the second and third years.

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