About this Research Topic
Over the past two decades, large-scale international assessments (e.g., PISA, PIRCE, SERCE,TERCE, ERCE) have been on the rise, which are seen by many specialists in the field, as strategic in international debates on educational policy. An increasing number of investigations have indicated that there is a positive relationship between the socioeconomic level of students and their academic performance; the socioeconomic level of the school can be a much stronger predictor than the socioeconomic level of individual students; preschool attendance is related to performance; student beliefs, motivation to learn, and anxiety appear to be strong predictors of achievement; and that differences in achievement between schools are increasing. On the other hand, it has been questioned whether: the family background of students in developing countries explains the difference in their performance; variation in the quality of school resources may be more important than variation in family inputs; and whether culture can play a mediating role in the relationship between family history, cognitive abilities, and student achievement.
Large-scale international assessments, without a doubt, are an enormous source of information for families, teachers, and governments. Its periodic application mode, in particular, makes it possible to go from a cross-sectional design to a longitudinal design, which in turn allows links to be drawn between interventions in an educational system and their results years later, both within and between nations. The results of a large number of investigations suggest that studies based on large-scale assessments datasets have led to progress in educational research while pointing to the need for caution in using this research to inform educational policy.
On the other hand, it can also be observed that other measures of academic achievement, like aptitude tests (e.g., The Mechanical Aptitude Test, The O’Connor Finger Dexterity Test assesses psychomotor aptitudes, The Meier Art Tests, etc.), hybrid test, which combines aptitude and achievement assessments (e.g., SAT, ACT, GRE), standardized (e.g., California Achievement Test, Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, Tests of Academic Proficiency), and nonstandardized achievement tests have provided valuable information to the educational field, contributing to the progress in this area. Therefore, both large-scale assessments and those that imply objective measures of academic achievement are necessary and decisive to obtain relevant information regarding the relations between the mentioned variables.
In this Research Topic, we aim to bring together different aspects of the field in order to understand to what extent the differences between individual, family, school, teaching, or institutional characteristics contribute to explaining different levels of academic performance, considering the cultural differences between countries. Likewise, this topic welcomes studies based on large-scale assessments tests and academic achievement measures with proven psychometric properties over different periods that report on interventions that have been shown to increase student achievement.
In this way, it is hoped that the empirical findings presented here will improve educational systems and contribute to the economic and social development of emerging countries.
Keywords: Explanatory Factors, Educational Interventions, Cross-Cultural Differences, Academic Achievement, Large-Scale Assessments
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