Poverty and Academic Performance
Out-of-School Factors That Affect Student Achievement
Schools often receive blame for their students’ poor academic performance even though the teachers and principals work to provide strong curricula, high expectations, and safe climates. However, there are factors other than those that can easily be controlled by the schools that can affect school performance more than what the teachers and principals do. Out-of-School Factors
Out-of-school factors (OSFs) must also be addressed in schools with large numbers of poor students. The school community and the general public acknowledge that poverty makes teaching and learning difficult for children who hurt physically or mentally, those who are hungry, lack proper clothing, or live in unsafe environments. Teachers may be aware that children find it much harder, if not impossible, to learn or even care about getting an education or to hope that learning holds any reward for them. These factors must be addressed, but schools cannot be expected to remedy the problems caused by poverty without assistance from the public outside of the school. In his March, 2009 article, “Poverty and Potential: Out of School Factors and School Success,” David C. Berliner listed six factors that are not related to school practices, but affect school performance in a negative way: 1.
low birth weight and non-genetic prenatal influences on children 2.
inadequate medical, dental, and vision care, often a result of little or no medical insurance 3.
family relations and family stress
Berliner suggests that after-school programs, summer programs, and other enrichment programs that may not be available for children living in poverty, but could off set some of the ill effects of poverty, could be considered a seventh OSF. Efforts to Increase Academic Performance
All of these out-of-school factors must be addressed if high...
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