OECD (2010; 2013; 2016) has periodically reported international comparisons of the status and trends of academic resilience among students in the OECD countries using PISA data. As a result, the concept of academic resilience, an internal characteristic of students who succeed in school despite encountering adverse circumstances, has increasingly been drawing attention. Meanwhile, the concept of academic resilience, as defined by the OECD in an international perspective, tends to produce different statistics depending on the number and distribution of countries being compared (Agasisti et al., 2018). Specifically, it was shown that academic resilience analyzed by applying this concept is likely to be affected by the national distribution of indicators such as percentage of variation in performance explained by economic, social and cultural status (ESCS), performance adjusted by ESCS, and percentage of students performing below Level 2.
For this reason, the results of international comparison of time series changes in the academically resilient student ratio are likely to be distorted by changes in distribution of the aforementioned factors. In the light of these problems, this study aims to compare trends of changes in percentage of academically resilient students in an international perspective to those in a within-country perspective, and discusses the similarities and differences found in the concepts defined from each perspective.
Data and Method:
This study uses PISA 2006-2015 data to examine trends in the proportion of academically resilient students by country. In an international perspective, academically resilient students are defined as those in the lower 25% of ESCS index in each country and their academic performance adjusted by their ESCS index ranks among the top 25% in the world. In a within-country perspective, on the other hand, academically resilient students are those in the bottom 25% of the ESCS index in each country and their academic performance adjusted by their ESCS index ranks among the top 25% in that country.
The procedure of the analysis is as follows. Firstly, in an international perspective, we examine the distribution of countries with lower share of academically resilient students (eg Finland, Hungary, Korea, and New Zealand) in 2015 compared to 2006 and countries with higher proportion of resilient students (eg United States, Spain, Germany, Japan). Secondly, we calculate the proportion of academically resilient students for the same period (2006-2015) in these countries in a within-country perspective, and examine whether this shows the same trend as the proportion of academically resilient students in an international perspective. Thirdly, if there are countries that exhibit varying trends of change in share of academically resilient students calculated according to different perspectives, we would like to identify factors giving rise to these differences. Finally, based on the results, we would like to discuss the difference between the concept of academic resilience defined in an international perspective and that defined in a within-country perspective.
This study was conducted to discuss the points to be noted in the empirical studies applying the concept of academic resilience defined by OECD. Since the publication of the OECD (2010) report, several researchers have cited the concept of academic resilience to analyze data from different countries, and different results are reported depending on the perspectives taken by the researchers. However, few studies have discussed what contributes to this difference. This study suggests that the criteria for defining academically resilient students may vary according to the researcher’s point of view, and it is hoped that subsequent studies will take an accurate view that is appropriate for the purpose of the study.