National Centre for Vocational Education Research finds academic success starts at home

A GREAT school and teacher make very little difference to the success of a high school student, with individual factors of family and motivation more important, according to a new report.     

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research project showed a student’s background characteristics drove their engagement in school by the time they were 15 years old.

Managing director Rod Camm said the report put the focus on emotional and cognitive engagement.

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“The level of a person’s engagement impacts on their involvement and ultimately their working career,” he said.

Lead researcher Dr Sinan Gemici said the report showed that timing of funding and education was critical.

Benita Kerbsztesi is very proud daughter Taylor, 16, is motivated to do well at school.

Benita Kerbsztesi is very proud daughter Taylor, 16, is motivated to do well at school.

“We are not saying as a blanket statement that schools don’t matter,” he said.

“What we’re saying is that the timing is critical – if you start throwing money at school programs and interventions in high school, it’s too late.”

Dr Gemici said he hoped further studies would narrow down the age for when education and motivational programs would be the most beneficial to a student.

Murrumba Downs student Taylor Kerbsztesi, 16, wants a career in writing or journalism. The Grace Lutheran College student said a positive mindset and support from her family made a big difference to her education.

“If you’re not motivated or don’t have support from your family it makes it more difficult to do well,” she said.

“Your friends and family are important for emotional support like that.”

Mother Benita Kerbsztesi said she was proud her daughter was self-motivated.

“I still believe a good school has a lot to do with education and good teachers as well,” she said. “But I’m not a great believer in paying a lot of money to have them come out on top – there are a lot of great people in the world who have done very well without going to expensive schools.”

Originally published as Money can’t buy you academic success
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