The 5 factors which affect school performance

imageAs I mentioned on Friday, I’m currently reading “School performance in Australia: results from analyses of school effectiveness”, a research report published in 2004.

When the report starts to take a look at the comparisons between secondary schools, using the main data sets that they have available for school-level analysis, there are five factors which they isolate as being key ones. In the statistical analysis, they call these the ‘control variables’, but they key message is that these are the five things external which have a big impact on the attainment of students. If you remove the influence of these from school-level analysis, you can then analyse the difference in performance between secondary schools more effectively.

The 5 factors which affect school performance

  1. Previous student attainment (through GAT scores)
  2. Socio Economic Status of the student intake
  3. School size, based on number of students
  4. Rural/Urban location
  5. School sector - Public, Private or Catholic

Why are these the key underlying 5 factors which affect school performance?

  1. Previous student attainment (in Victoria they use GAT scores to measure this)
    This is used to ensure that you are measuring the ‘value added’ to students’ performance, not just their final achievement
  2. Socio Economic Status of the student intake
    This is used to remove bias from a school being in a particular area which may affect it’s student intake. For example, if a school is located in an area with a higher proportion of social housing, statistically the students are likely to be less engaged with education (eg higher absence rates), with less well educated parents.
  3. School size, based on number of students
    OECD research quoted in the report shows that as school size falls below 1,000 students, average student attainment falls too
  4. Rural/Urban location
    Research shows that this is an important influencer of school performance within Australia
  5. School sector - Public, Private or Catholic
    When you don’t take this factor into account, then the analysis of school performance tends to show schools grouping into three bands, representing the different sectors.

By taking these factors into account when looking at school performance, you are able to get a better idea of how each school is performing compared to other schools, and a better idea of the ‘value added’ to individual students. (You can read much more about this from page 28 of the report. You’ll also see on Page 29, that they used a different set of factors for primary schools, which included density of indigenous students and transient families).

The question I have in my mind now is:

If you are a school leader in Australia, do you have the right performance data available, in your analysis systems, to allow for these 5 key factors? Do the reports that you receive help you to allow for these factors?

Learn MoreRead the full 'School Performance in Australia' report


NB I know that there will be readers who will see this as an over-simplification of the analysis. My aim isn’t to reinterpret it, but simply to share what I’m understanding as I’m reading it. And I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong - either by adding a comment below or hitting the ‘Email Blog Author’ link at the top right.

Comments (33)

  1. wolfu says:

    lack of cooperation between parents and  teachers

  2. geoff says:

    most learning particularly for primary school children occurs at home and school is just there to fill the gap between 9-3 when parents have to work. Perhaps we should focus of improving patents educational skills or at least give them the concept of supporting their childres education rather than throwing billions of schools Did your analysis includes students inate learning needs/motivation?

  3. salma says:

    envirmental factor

  4. Umar tukur umar says:

    Yes this are among the factors but there are:- teacher related factors and school adminstrators factors

  5. musengi says:

    lack of self confidence

  6. albright says:

    teachers practices of instruction is also one of the contributory factor

  7. isak borana says:

    lack of instructors of academic college

  8. miiro Hamuzah says:

    its worthy to say that even the nature oft the leaner matters alot

  9. Mohamed says:

    Students motivation might be a factor, although teacher willingness plays an important role; teacher willingness could be affected by teacher remuneration and the general socio-economy.

  10. zanele madikizela says:

    lack of cooperation between parents and teachers in most of the RURAL areas

  11. abhijit says:

    socio-economic status affects children's performance in schools. many rural talents do not get proper ex-poser to modern development of the society.

  12. anna says:

    peer pressure may also affect the school environment of a student

  13. jaime b.cortidor says:

    economic status can really affects the  students performance in schools.

  14. amber says:

    Lack of self confidence and poverty also affects

    religious beliefs

  15. me says:

    yes,it is true because many people are lack of education but there people to interested also.

  16. joy says:

    the student to teacher ratio also matters

  17. M AMJAD HUSSAIN says:


  18. Kemisola 08091916386 says:

    It is also cause as lack of concentration between the teacher and the students and secondly it may causes inadequate class room equipment

  19. spinxer diamond says:

    there are many reasons personally for each of them.this will not end in this 5 factors alone.

  20. yizemn says:

    There are constraints that affect educational performance.

  21. Manamela lebogang ephenia says:

    Shortage of teachers n the changing of teachers during the year

  22. Gudina kenate says:

    I have no comment please send the book to me

  23. postu says:

    what about adolescence, does it have any contribution?

  24. souad says:

    Family problems also affect students' performance

  25. Godana Hawas says:

    unequal treatement of teachers among the students also on of the factor.

  26. jhaycess reynosa says:

    Need self confidence to reach all the dream and the economic status is not a problem

  27. mauly mauly says:

    lack of Experienced teachers &symbiosis

  28. oboya says:

    Most of parents are too busy they can't follow up their kids performance in school

  29. REV, SAMUEL says:

    ill health is serious

  30. musa Babangida says:

    please how individual status affects performance in organization

  31. Power Bhoola says:

    Education needs to be understood in many ways to help different people in many different areas with their ways of living

  32. Gracian Kachale says:

    cultural factors also infringe on academic endeavors, there is need to mitigate cultural factors that hinder some learners to maneuver ahead with high education.

  33. Dayaratna W.M.H says:

    Emotional conditions of the lerner affect school performance. Emotioal conditions are related to the family environment, school environment, peer goroups etc

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