A Study of Academic Resilience among Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds

Studies of student achievement in Ireland have noted that average achievement among ‎students from disadvantaged backgrounds is well below that of nationally representative ‎samples (Eivers, Shiel and Shortt, 2004; Weir, 2001). Indeed, Sirin (2005) found that of all ‎factors examined in the meta-analytic literature, family socioeconomic status (SES) at the ‎student level is one of the strongest correlates of academic performance, while at the school ‎level the correlations were even stronger.‎

However, despite the strong link between SES and academic achievement, many ‎students from disadvantaged backgrounds are able to overcome their personal challenges ‎and become successful in school.  The available educational research calls these students ‎resilient, because they have overcome adversity to achieve academic success.  ‎Understanding how these students overcome their social background and succeed in school ‎can allow us to identify factors and conditions that could help more students succeed despite ‎the challenges they face (OECD, 2011).‎

Using data from the 9- and 13-year-old cohort of the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) study, this study aims to identify predictors of academic resilience (and the associated processes between them) and how these may change at different time points in a child’s development.

This study was undertaken as a PhD thesis. Initial results from this study, examining cultural capital and academic resilience, were presented at the 2018 European Conference on Educational Research.