4th March 2016 at 00:00

National study into self-belief begins

A new national study aims to establish whether children who are taught they can influence their own brain development and intelligence achieve more than those who are not. Psychologists at the University of Portsmouth have set up a research project looking into growth mindset theory, involving around 6,000 pupils at 100 schools across England. Pioneered by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, the theory suggests intelligence and ability are not fixed characteristics, but that they can be developed. The Portsmouth study will examine whether pupils who are encouraged to build their intelligence through persistence, self-belief and self-improvement strategies achieve more.

Maths pupils get higher-paying jobs

Pupils who take maths at A-level receive an 11 per cent premium on their salary by the time they are 34 years old, researchers say. Michael Adkins and Andrew Noyes, from the University of Nottingham, studied data from more than 2,000 people born in 1970. They looked at what each participant should expect to earn at age 34, given their sex, family status, educational background and the area in which they live. Those people who had taken maths A-level earned an extra 11 per cent, on top of the salary predicted by all other contributing factors.

Girls spend longer on homework

Girls do more homework than boys, leading to stronger and more regimented study habits once they leave school, research has found. Seth Gershenson and Stephen Holt from the American University in Washington, DC, examined data drawn from 5,909 pupils between the ages of 15 and 19. They found that girls consistently spent one hour more per week on homework than boys did. The gap was not attributable to participation in extracurricular activities, childcare duties or part-time jobs. It could also not be explained by past academic achievement, ability, individual courses chosen by pupils or school quality.

Parental working hours affect results

Children whose parents work long hours tend to achieve lower grades at GCSE than those whose parents spend a lot of time at home. Magdalena Rokicka, from the Educational Research Institute in Warsaw, examined data drawn from more than 2,000 nationally representative households in England, between 1994 and 2008. She discovered that children with employed parents were more likely to sit a high number of GCSEs than those whose mother or father did not work. However, pupils whose parents work very long hours tended to perform badly in their GCSEs.


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