The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 12, 2013

Your View: Student success

By Sylvia Martin
Special to The Globe

NEVADA, Mo. — On Feb. 22, Missouri Sen. Ed Emery stated: “Few educators or parents would disagree that teacher quality is the most important factor in student achievement.”

Sen. Emery made this statement without citing supportive research.

Educational research supports several factors that lead to student success ranking before teacher quality. An Oregon State University study followed a group of students to age 21 showed the greatest predictor of college completion were children able to pay attention and complete tasks at age 4. ( 2012).

The study supported early childhood education that helped children focus, accomplish tasks and engage themselves in learning before reaching the age of formal education. Students who pay attention learn more.

Attendance is another factor that greatly increases student success. The Department of Education in 2009 established what educators have long known: Students who are in school learn more than students who are absent. Excellent teachers may provide quality lessons enhancing the educational goals of the district, state and nation, but if students are not in attendance, engaged in presentations, they will not learn the concepts presented.

A third repeated theme in student success is completion of assignments and homework. Students who do the work learn more. A Duke University study published in 2006 concludes that successful students do homework. A July 2009 Breakthrough article shares information that students must be self-motivated, engaged and disciplined to have greater academic achievement.

While having excellent teachers is extremely important for academic success, students first need to attend school (informed home schooling), focus on the lessons presented and complete homework. The Missouri Parents as Teachers program, available to those raising young children, supports factors leading to academic success.

While having common core curriculum goals is important, parents who ascertain their children attend school, pay attention and do the work are essential to the success of their children. With such preparation, our schools will produce students able to achieve in academic, social and economic arenas.

Sylvia Martin