Browsing by Subject "academic achievement"

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  • Kwaah, Christopher Yaw; Palojoki, Päivi (2018)
    Entry qualification, academic achievement, and teaching practices of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) qenrolled into the teacher education programme directly from senior high school (DfSHS) were compared with NQTs enrolled through the Untrained Teacher Diploma in Basic Education (UTDBE) programme. Survey data collected from 140 NQTs (84 DfSHS and 56 UTDBE) of 20 public schools in central Ghana and lesson observations showed that the two categories of Newly qualified teachers differed greatly in entry grades and academic achievements during training. Differences in teaching practices pertained to content knowledge, classroom interactions, and lesson closure. Implications for pre-service and in-service teaching training are discussed.
  • Kleemola, Katri; Hyytinen, Heidi (2019)
    As Finnish university admissions are reformed, more information is needed on the relationship between performance in prior education and later academic achievement. Transition to university is a critical period, and low performance in prior education is associated with challenges in later study. In the present study, law students' (n = 426) performance in the National Matriculation Examination was investigated in relation to later academic achievement at university. Quantitative methods were used. Findings showed that prior performance was not only associated with study success but also with study progress. The results also showed that law students who had grades in the advanced mathematics course were faster and more successful at university. This work contributes to the existing knowledge of university admissions ahead of the Finnish reform by providing new insights into prior performance and how it is related to academic achievement at university.
  • Lindfors, Pirjo; Minkkinen, Jaana; Rimpelä, Arja; Hotulainen, Risto (2018)
    Research on the associations between family and school social capital, school burnout and academic achievement in adolescence is scarce and the results are inconclusive. We examined if family and school social capital at the age of 13 predicts lower school burnout and better academic achievement when graduating at the age of 16. Using data from 4467 Finnish adolescents from 117 schools and 444 classes a three-level multilevel analysis was executed. School social capital, the positive and supportive relationships between students and teachers, predicted lower school burnout and better academic achievement among students. Classmates' family social capital had also significance for students' academic achievement. Our results suggest that building school social capital is an important aspect of school health and education policies and practices.
  • Zhang, Junfeng; Kuusisto, Elina; Tirri, Kirsi (2019)
    Inspired by previous research indicating implicit beliefs about the malleability of human qualities, namely mindset, to affect learning outcomes, this article compares how Chinese and Finnish students’ mindsets and attributions for success reflect their cultural values and predict their academic achievement. The study was conducted in one Chinese (N=705) and two Finnish (N=495) middle schools utilizing Dweck’s mindset inventory, Weiner’s attribution scale and students’ school marks. The results illustrated that both Chinese and Finnish students held a growth mindset, and all identified the nature of intelligence as being more malleable than giftedness. However, Chinese students did not differentiate between intelligence and giftedness as clearly as Finnish students. Both students attributed the cause of their academic achievements to effort and ability, but placed more emphasis on effort. Furthermore, Chinese students’ preference for effort significantly accounted for higher language marks, whereas Finnish students with fixed mindsets about giftedness achieved higher mathematics marks. Cultural interpretation, implications and limitations of the results were discussed.
  • Sneck, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Objectives. Attachment theory is a theory of social development and personality, known around the world. According to the theory, children have an innate tendency to develop a biologically based and central nervous system-regulated attachment bond to their primary caregivers in order to ensure safety, care, and survival. Early attachment experiences contribute to the way one sees oneself and others and lead to secure, insecure, or disorganized attachment styles, which affect rest of one’s life. Previous research has confirmed the universal nature of attachment, different attachment categories and styles, and early attachment’s links with future relationships and various internal and external problems. Attachment research has traditionally concentrated on early childhood and early childhood environments, whereas middle childhood, adolescence, and school context have been studied less. The objectives of the present study were to find out what kinds of links there are between attachment and the lives of school-aged children and youngsters, what kinds of attachment-related challenges teachers encounter at school, and how teachers could support their students with those attachment-related challenges. The aim is to explore attachment in the lives of school-aged children and youngsters, including at school, to gain a better understanding and to create a valuable foundation for future research. Methodology. The present study was conducted as a systematic literature review, which allowed the gathering of diverse and comprehensive, yet relevant research material, while also supporting objectivity and reproducibility aspects of the study. The material, available through electronic databases, was comprised of research articles from around the world, published in peer-reviewed international research journals. The material was analyzed thematically by research questions and topics, which were then used as a framework in the Results section. Results and conclusions. Early attachment and attachment styles were directly and indirectly linked to the lives of school-aged children and youngsters, including teacher-student relationships, peer relationships, family relationships, and academic achievement, as well as internal and external problems. Various attachment-related challenges and problems were visible at school, but teachers had many ways to buffer them. Current attachment research has not affected or changed school environments enough. Much more attention should be given to attachment within schools, teacher education, and in-service training programs in order to give students better support for their attachment-related problems and challenges.
  • Ståhlberg, Jenny; Tuominen, Heta; Pulkka, Antti-Tuomas; Niemivirta, Markku (2019)
    Two studies utilising a group-based approach examined the relationships between perfectionism and achievement goal orientations, and the role academic self-worth contingency plays in this, among university (N = 506, Study I) and general upper-secondary school students (N = 154, Study II). In both studies, four groups of students were identified based on their patterns of perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns (i.e., perfectionistic profiles) using Two-Step cluster analysis, and group differences in achievement goal orientations were examined while controlling for the effect of academic self-worth contingency. High perfectionistic concerns, with or without high perfectionistic strivings, were connected with goals reflecting relative performance and avoidance, whereas high strivings with low concerns were linked with a stronger emphasis on mastery. Students with low strivings and low concerns were, instead, inclined towards work avoidance. Academic self-worth contingency was highest among students with high concerns, and it contributed significantly to group differences on achievement- and performance-related achievement goal orientations. This suggests that self-worth maintenance might be one of the mechanisms linking perfectionism and motivation.
  • Ansung, Kim (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Understanding the relationship between plant-based diets and mental health has become an important issue from a public health perspective, not only for researchers but also in everyday life. In particular, this study focused on university students since more and more students have been limiting their animal-based foods intake. At the same time, there has been a global trend of increasing mental disorders and distress among university students. Poor mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, could associate with students' academic achievement. This study examined the connections between diet choice, mental health, and academic achievement. This study used cross-sectional data from the Student Health Survey 2016 by the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS). Among 3029 participants (aged 18 to 35 years) from either academic universities or universities of applied sciences in Finland, the questions from the Index of Diet Quality (IDQ) were used to construct four different diet types: 67 vegans (2.2%), 281 vegetarians (9.3%), 291 semi-vegetarians (9.6%), and 2390 omnivores (78.9%). Mental health status was measured by using two indicators: self-reported diagnosed mental disorders (depression and/or anxiety) and the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), which screened minor psychiatric disorders. Academic achievement was measured by asking about perceived academic success. The logistic regression models were used in the main analyses. The two different mental health status were analysed with adjustment for potential confounding variables such as sociodemographic factors, health-related behaviour, BMI, and disease conditions. The academic achievement was analysed with adjustment for potential confounding variables such as sociodemographic factors, health-related behaviour, BMI, disease conditions, enrolment period, and right field of study. Also, this study further examined the association between food groups and academic achievement. The results showed that compared to the omnivorous diet, the vegetarian diet was associated with higher odds of diagnosed mental disorders (OR [95% CI]: 2.74 [1.80–4.16], p<0.001) and minor psychiatric disorders screened by GHQ-12 (OR [95% CI]: 1.68[1.22–2.30], p<0.001) after adjustment for all potential confounders. Although a positive relationship between fish consumption and academic achievement was found (OR [95% CI]: .88[.80–.96], p<0.01), there was no statistically significant association between diet types and academic achievement. In addition, higher sweets consumption was related to higher odds of being less successful than students had expected (OR [95% CI]: 1.08 [1.01–1.15], p<0.05). The results indicate that vegetarian university students are more likely to have lower mental health status than non-vegetarian students on average. In addition, academic achievement is associated with the consumption of specific food items rather than diet types. Overall, the findings suggest that vegetarian students should carefully monitor their mental health status. Also, students should be supported to improve their food choice and dietary quality for their academic achievement. The study results can be implicated in public health interventions to improve students' well-being among higher education students. In future research, it may be beneficial to apply more various classifications and measures of diet types and academic achievement and examine the temporal relationship between diagnosed mental disorders and the diet chosen.
  • Niilekselä, Pia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Entrance to academic studies does not automatically lead to commitment in one's studies. There may be differences in student commitment across different learning environments. In the present study, combinations of problems in studying medical students experience were investigated in a lecture-based learning environment (n = 246) and in a problem-based learning environment (n = 231). Also differences between the combinations in task avoidance and differences between the combinations in academic achievement were investigated in each learning environment. Medical students were classified in different learning environments by K-means cluster analysis by cases into groups based on the following variables: exhaustion, lack of self-regulation, lack of interest and distress. Three groups of commitment among medical students were identified in the lecture-based learning environment: committed, carefree and dysfunctional students. The profiles were related to task avoidance but not to study success. The committed students expressed less task avoidance than the carefree students and the dysfunctional students. The latter two groups of medical students did not differ from each other in this case. Also three groups of commitment among medical students were identified in the problem-based learning environment: committed, committed carefree and dysfunctional students. The profiles were related to task avoidance and study success. The dysfunctional students expressed more task avoidance than the committed carefree students and the committed students. The latter two groups of medical students did not differ from each other in this case. The committed students and the committed carefree students gained better grades than the dysfunctional students. However, the former two groups of medical students did not differ from each other in this case. The implications of the study for research are discussed.
  • Martin, Riina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Epistemic beliefs are somewhat stable conceptions of what knowledge is. On one hand, they have been suggested to be a developmental sequence, and on the other hand, consist of multiple intertwined dimensions. The aim of this study is to research the connections in university students’ epistemic beliefs, and their relation to academic disciplines and academic achievement. Previous studies have suggested that while some disciplinary differences exist, the more relativistic epistemic beliefs have generally been seen as more sophisticated ones. These more relativistic epistemic beliefs have previously been shown to be positively connected to better academic achievement. A person-oriented approach is applied in this study, to provide a tangible perspective to the students’ epistemic beliefs. The sample consisted of 831 first-year students from University of Helsinki from years 2013 and 2014. The data used in the study was part of Mind the Gap –project, and it was collected with a multi-sectioned questionnaire, mainly from large introductory courses. Additional data from the study register was used to examine academic achievement. The data was analyzed statistically with SPSS, using TwoStep cluster analysis, crosstabs, and Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA). Three epistemic profiles were found: Non-Reflective Students, Reflective Theorists, and Practical Academics. Some significant differences, supported by earlier research, were found in the representation of the identified epistemic profiles in the faculties. Reflective Theorists were broadly represented in the Faculty of Social Sciences and sparse in the Faculty of Medicine. Additionally, Practical Academics were largely present in the Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, and Non-Reflective Students in the Faculty of Law. In regards to Study Performance, Reflective Theorists had significantly higher Study Performance (GPA) than the two other profiles. This study overall broadened the comprehensive understanding of university students’ epistemic beliefs, and can be useful in planning university studies and student intake locally.