Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Attitude Determines Student Success In Rural Schools, Study Finds

Date:
June 30, 2008
Source:
University of Oklahoma
Summary:
While most of the country focuses on ACT scores, student-teacher ratio and rigorous curriculum to increase student success, a recent study finds the commitment to excellence determines student achievement in rural schools.

While most of the country focuses on ACT scores, student-teacher ratio and rigorous curriculum to increase student success, it may be the commitment to excellence that determines student achievement in rural schools. This is an overlooked, yet critical, factor when considering nearly half of American school districts are in rural areas, educating nearly 21 percent of all students.

Perri Applegate, a researcher at the University of Oklahoma K20 Center, recently investigated the qualities that differentiate a high-achieving school and low-achieving rural high school, focusing on high-poverty high schools with at least 51 percent of the population eligible for free or reduced lunch.

Applegate compared the scores on Oklahoma's Academic Performance Index, the state's annual school report of 367 Oklahoma high schools ranging from large, urban to small rural schools. She found no significant difference in achievement of rural schools and those in other settings.

Surprisingly, the top factors that did impact student achievement in urban high schools, ACT scores and dropout rates, did not determine student success in rural schools. Community involvement and the school's commitment to student excellence were the determining factors in whether a rural school was high- or low-achieving.

"In small-town America, the school and the community are dependent upon each other for success," said Applegate. In rural areas, schools tend to be the center of the community, acting as a gathering place and often social services. In larger towns, students have access to resources and support outside of their schools.

"Rural schools in the study listed the same factors as impacting student achievement: poverty, parental support, community, extracurricular activities and a caring school culture," said Applegate. "The difference between a high- or low-achieving rural school was how they -- both the school and the community -- met those challenges."

High-achieving schools had educators that embraced the role of being a rural teacher, which typically means wearing many hats and being creative with necessary resources. The schools had shared and supportive leadership, empowered stakeholders to take leadership roles and did not accept the idea that students were destined to fail based on their address. As one rural teacher pointed out, "Intelligence isn't geographically based."

Other factors included parents and community members who support the teachers, or if necessary, the school enacted programs to increase support. Another key factor was high-achieving schools gave students many opportunities to connect their learning to the well-being of the community, reinforcing the school-community bond.

While affected by the same variables, low-achieving schools felt that being a rural school was a handicap for student achievement and the lack of resources was a burden to school administration and the community. This attitude reflected in the educational approach of the school and in the student's probability to go to college.

According to Applegate, these finding have serious implications beyond education. Research shows that schools can save communities. The success of one can determine the success or failure of the other.

"We can't assume that student success in all schools, large and small, is impacted by the same issues," said Applegate. "So the question becomes how do we help schools in their environment become successful?"

For rural schools, Applegate suggests preparation programs need to provide specialized training for those who will serve in this setting. Policymakers need to acknowledge that rural schools have particular strengths and weaknesses. Finally, reform programs aimed at improving rural schools need to be tailored to meet their unique needs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oklahoma. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oklahoma. "Attitude Determines Student Success In Rural Schools, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080619174221.htm>.
University of Oklahoma. (2008, June 30). Attitude Determines Student Success In Rural Schools, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080619174221.htm
University of Oklahoma. "Attitude Determines Student Success In Rural Schools, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080619174221.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins