Determinants of Academic Achievement in TurkeyHayri Eren Suna, Mahmut Özer, Sadri Şensoy, Bekir Sıddık Gür, Selahattin Gelbal, Petek Aşkar
The relationship of in-school and out-of-school factors with academic achievement has been subject to long-term discussion in the context of educational equality. In Turkey, the achievement gap between schools is relatively high, therefore, examining the factors related to achievement is crucial to the mitigation of these differences. Related studies often utilize international large-scale assessments and yield results for particular school types. Therefore, the current study aims to determine the factors related to academic achievement by using data from a student population who took the 2020 High School Transition System (LGS). Accordingly, this study is novel in that it examined the factors related to academic achievement in a high-stake test in Turkey. Data analysis used two-level hierarchical linear modeling. The results demonstrated that between-school variance in LGS achievement is relatively low compared with international large-scale assessments, such as the PISA and TIMSS. The variable with the most significant relationship with student achievement is socioeconomic status of the school followed by teacher seniority, school size, and class size. Moreover, the relationships of the student–teacher ratio and participation in in-service training to achievement are nonsignificant. The results highlight the importance of academic support for socioeconomically disadvantaged students.
Türkiye’de Akademik Başarının BelirleyicileriHayri Eren Suna, Mahmut Özer, Sadri Şensoy, Bekir Sıddık Gür, Selahattin Gelbal, Petek Aşkar
Eğitimde okul içi ve okul dışı özelliklerin akademik başarı ile ilişkisi uzun süredir eğitimde fırsat eşitliği bağlamında tartışılmaktadır. Okullar arası başarı farklarının görece yüksek olduğu Türkiye’de bu farkların azaltılabilmesi için başarıyla ilişkili faktörlerin belirlenmesi gerekmektedir. Bu amaçla yapılan çalışmalar çoğunlukla PISA ve TIMSS gibi uluslararası başarı izleme araştırmalarını dikkate almış ve belirli okul türlerine yönelik sonuçlar sağlamıştır. Bu çalışmada 2020 yılı Liselere Geçiş Sistemi (LGS) kapsamındaki merkezi sınava katılan tüm öğrencilerin verileri kullanılarak akademik başarıyla ilişkili faktörlerin belirlenmesi amaçlanmıştır. Böylece Türkiye’de yüksek beklentili bir sınavdaki başarıyı açıklayan faktörler ilk kez tüm öğrenci evreni üzerinden belirlenmiştir. Verilerin analizinde öğrenci ve okul olmak üzere iki düzeyli hiyerarşik lineer modelleme kullanılmıştır. Araştırma bulguları, LGS merkezi sınavında okullar arası başarı varyansının, uluslararası başarı izleme çalışmalarına kıyasla düşük olduğunu göstermiştir. Öğrenci başarısı ile en güçlü ilişkiye sahip değişkenin okul sosyoekonomik düzeyi olduğu, bu değişkeni öğretmen kıdemi, okul büyüklüğü ve sınıf büyüklüğünün takip ettiği belirlenmiştir. Öğretmen başına düşen öğrenci sayısı ve hizmet içi eğitime katılım sayısı ise öğrenci başarısı ile anlamlı bir ilişki göstermemiştir. Okul ve öğrenci seviyelerindeki sosyoekonomik düzeyin öğrenci başarısı ile en güçlü ilişkiye sahip olan değişkenler olması, sosyoekonomik açıdan dezavantajlı öğrencilerin ihtiyaç duyduğu akademik desteklerin önemini ortaya koymaktadır.
The components of education systems and the interactions between them are in constant motion depending on social and technological changes. Moreover, educational outcomes are directly and indirectly related to in-school and out-of-school characteristics. As such, countries regularly monitor the relationships between these components to obtain feedback on the effectivity of their education systems. A strong relationship between in-school factors and educational outcomes indicates that educational quality is closely related to school characteristics. Furthermore, it is considered a positive indicator of equal opportunity in education. With the strong relationship between out-of-school factors and educational outcomes, the effects of the socioeconomic gap among students on educational outcomes increase, which raises questions and concerns regarding equal opportunity in education. The relationship of in-school and out-of-school factors with educational outcomes is also a major subject of educational research in Turkey. For numerous years, achievement gaps between schools have prompted researchers to examine the factors underlying these differences. Therefore, the majority of studies in Turkey on school characteristics have focused on schools in a particular province or region or a particular type of school by using data from international assessments (i.e., PISA and TIMSS). However, by contrast, the current study examines the factors related to student achievement by using data from students that undertook the LGS examination in 2020. In this context, this study is novel in that it investigated the factors associated with achievement in a high-stake test through the student population at the national level. The study examined six school-level variables, namely, school size, class size, student–teacher ratio, teacher seniority, teachers’ participation in in-service training, and the socioeconomic level of the school. At the student level, socioeconomic status is considered. Consistent with the objective of the research, between-school variance was calculated for verbal and numerical achievement and examined using intraclass correlation coefficients. Factors related to the verbal and numerical achievement of the students were then determined using the hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) method.
The results demonstrate that between-school variance explains 27% and 24% of variation in students’ verbal and numerical achievement, respectively. These rates are slightly low compared with those obtained through international large-scale studies, such as PISA. Nevertheless, determining the relationship between-school characteristics and student achievement, that is, between-school variance can explain the differences in student achievement and remains important to a significant extent. Second, the HLM results indicate that the socioeconomic level of the school exhibits the most significant relationship with the verbal achievement of students. Moreover, the seniority of teachers and school size also have a significant and positive relationships with verbal achievement. The class size, student–teacher ratio, and participation in in-service training are not significantly related to student achievement. Finally, the socioeconomic level reveals a significant relationship with verbal achievement at the student level. The results for numerical achievement are similar. The relationships of the socioeconomic level of the school, teacher seniority, school size, and class size with student achievement are significant. By contrast, the student–teacher ratio and participation in in-service training do not have significant relationships with student achievement. Furthermore, the relationship between socioeconomic level and numerical achievement at the student level is significant. The only difference in the results between numerical and verbal achievement is that the class size is significantly related to numerical achievement but not to verbal achievement. The significant relationships among the school size, class size, and academic achievement are deemed consistent with previous arguments, that is, the level of competition between students is high in large schools and classes, which increases average achievement. Additionally, the fact that class sizes are concurrent with the school size in Turkey should be considered, that is, the bigger the school, the bigger the class. Thus, the number of large-sized schools are higher in metropolitan cities and regions with relatively high socioeconomic levels. Teacher seniority is among the variables most significantly related to student achievement. This result, which is consistent with those of national and international large-scale assessments, highlights the importance of the professional seniority of teachers. Nonetheless, the wide gap between student achievement in Turkey is remarkable. In general, teachers in Turkey begin their professional life in disadvantaged regions and move to socioeconomically advantageous regions and schools with the increase in seniority. This tendency seems to cause the unequal distribution of teachers based on seniority across regions and cities. Moreover, the socioeconomic level of the school is most significantly related to verbal and numerical achievement in students, which is consistent with the findings of previous studies. The fact that the socioeconomic level is significantly related to academic achievement at the student and school levels indicates that out-of-school factors exert a major influence on student achievement. This result emphasizes the importance of projects to support socioeconomically disadvantaged students. In recent years, several projects were implemented for disadvantaged students, such as the Remedial Education and Support Programme in Primary Education (IYEP), the Support and Training Courses (DYK) and the 1,000 Schools in Vocational Education Project by the Ministry of National Education. To address the aforementioned concerns, thereby continuing these projects and expanding their scope are required to mitigate the disadvantages and close gaps in achievement.