Academic resilience: What schools and countries do to help disadvantaged students succeed in PISA
Resilience refers to the capacity of individuals to prosper despite encountering adverse circumstances. This paper defines academic resilience as the ability of 15-year-old students from disadvantaged backgrounds to perform at a certain level in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in reading, mathematics and science that enables them to play an active role in their communities and prepares them to make the most of lifelong learning opportunities. Using data from the most recent PISA cycles, this paper explores changes in the share of resilient students over time (2006-2015); highlights the importance of school environments and resources in mitigating the risk of low achievement for disadvantaged students; and identifies school-level factors that are associated with the likelihood of academic resilience among socio-economically disadvantaged students. Analyses reveal that several countries were able to increase the share of resilient students over time, reflecting improvements in the average performance of students, or a weaker relationship between socio-economic status and performance. In the vast majority of education systems examined, the likelihood of academic resilience among disadvantaged students is lower in schools where students report a negative classroom climate. The paper concludes by exploring school policies and practices that are associated with a positive classroom climate.