Equality in cognitive learning outcomes: the roles of educational practices

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-6713-2
Title: Equality in cognitive learning outcomes: the roles of educational practices
Author: Saarinen, Aino
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Educational Sciences
Doctoral Programme in Psychology, Learning and Communication
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020-11-12
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-6713-2
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/320436
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (article-based)
Abstract: In the recent years, a decline in Finnish students’ learning outcomes has been reported in several investigations, such as in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Further, variance in learning outcomes between students coming from different backgrounds has increased in Finland. This dissertation investigated (i) whether self-directed learning practices, use of digital learning materials at school, and participation in early education and care (ECEC) are associated with students’ learning outcomes at 15 years of age and (ii) whether these associations are modified by students’ background factors. The participants (N=5660, 5037, and 4634 in Studies I‒III) came from the Finnish PISA 2012 and 2015 datasets that constitute a representative sample of the Finnish 15-year-old students. Learning outcomes in reading, mathematical, and scientific literacy and collaborative problemsolving were evaluated with a comprehensive set of standardized tests. The frequency of learning practices (student-oriented, inquiry-based, and teacher-directed practices, and use of digital learning materials at school) were evaluated with questionnaires fulfilled by students. Participation in ECEC was evaluated with age at entry into ECEC. Background factors under investigation included gender, repetition of a grade, truancy behavior at school, family wealth, maternal education, single-parent family, and immigrant status. The data were analyzed with structural equation models that were controlled for age, gender, and parents’ socioeconomic status (the index of economic, social, cultural status). Frequent use of self-directed teaching practices or digital learning materials at school were associated with students’ weaker learning outcomes in several knowledge domains. Instead, frequenct teacher-directed practices were related to students’ higher learning outcomes. Moreover, frequent use of self-directed teaching practices or digital learning materials had more negative impact on students’ learning outcomes in students with (vs. without) risky background. Additionally, participation in ECEC before preschool was not associated with learning outcomes at 15 years of age. This association was not significantly moderated by parental socioeconomic status (as measured with the index of ESCS). At a trend level, the impact of participation in ECEC before preschool was slightly more positive for offspring of parents with high (vs. low) socioeconomic status. In conclusion, some pedagogical practices within the school system, such as frequent use of self-directed learning practices or digital learning material, were found to increase variance in learning outcomes between students coming from different backgrounds in Finland. No evidence was found that participation in ECEC would be related to learning outcomes at 15 years of age or would increase equality between students coming from different family backgrounds.In the recent years, a decline in Finnish students’ learning outcomes has been reported in several investigations, such as in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Further, variance in learning outcomes between students coming from different backgrounds has increased in Finland. This dissertation investigated (i) whether self-directed learning practices, use of digital learning materials at school, and participation in early education and care (ECEC) are associated with students’ learning outcomes at 15 years of age and (ii) whether these associations are modified by students’ background factors. Frequent use of self-directed teaching practices or digital learning materials at school were associated with students’ weaker learning outcomes in several knowledge domains. Instead, frequenct teacher-directed practices were related to students’ higher learning outcomes. Moreover, frequent use of self-directed teaching practices or digital learning materials had more negative impact on students’ learning outcomes in students with (vs. without) risky background. Additionally, participation in ECEC before preschool was not associated with learning outcomes at 15 years of age. At a trend level, the impact of participation in ECEC before preschool was slightly more positive for offspring of parents with high (vs. low) socioeconomic status. In conclusion, some pedagogical practices within the school system, such as frequent use of self-directed learning practices or digital learning material, were found to increase variance in learning outcomes between students coming from different backgrounds in Finland. No evidence was found that participation in ECEC would be related to learning outcomes at 15 years of age or would increase equality between students coming from different family backgrounds.
Subject: kasvatustiede
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