What Makes a Difference For Resilient Students in Turkey?

Dr., Hacettepe University, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences, Ankara, Turkey.
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2016.64.5


Problem Statement: Socio-economic background plays an important role in academic achievement, but there is a group of students beating the odds and becoming successful despite the socio-economic background of their families.

Purpose of the Study: The study aimed to define how resilient students succeed at school despite their socio-economically disadvantaged background and examine the relationship between academic achievement and other factors related to school.

Method: Descriptive analysis and multiple regression analysis were used to answer the research questions. The rate of resilient students in Turkey has been analyzed among 15-year-olds taking the PISA 2012 assessment. According to PISA 2012 Mathematics performance, Turkey had 322 resilient students. Of these, 46.9% were female and 53.1% were male.

Findings: According to the PISA 2012 mathematics performance, 7% of students in Turkey are considered resilient. Findings indicate that almost all resilient students score 482 and higher. This means that there are no resilient students performing below baseline (level 2) in Turkey. One of the other findings was that resilient students feel connected to school and have positive feelings towards school. Self-belief in achievement, being happy with achievement, greater engagement in academic activities, social skills, feeling a sense of belonging to school, and positive feelings towards school were the traits of the resilient students in Turkey. There is no correlation between resilient students’ sense of belonging to school, attitudes towards school in terms of learning outcomes, and perceived success control, and their mathematics performance on the PISA 2012. Resilient students’ attitudes towards school is a significantly predictor of these students’ mathematics performance.

Conclusion and Recommendations: This study demonstrated that schools make a slight difference for resilient students in Turkey. Disadvantaged students managed to be resilient and successful, so the educational administration should make the schooling environment more positive and provide more incentives for disadvantaged students to foster their resiliency and success. Moreover, principals should develop strategies to ensure a meaningful learning process that enables disadvantaged students to become successful and accomplished citizens. A qualitative perspective is suggested to bring a deeper approach to evaluate what factors affect achievement of the resilient students’ success. Longitudinal studies could be done to compare what has changed in their lives and whether the resiliency is still present.

Keywords: Resilient students, sense of belonging, attitudes towards school, perceived success control, academic performance.