School failure could be reduced by 80% if maths and English were concentrated on
Cristina G. Pedraz/DICYT It is estimated that some 23 per cent of non university students fail in their studies. This is particularly relevant in Spain, which has the highest rate of school failure in the European Union according to recent data from EuroStat (the European Statistics Office).
The Didactic Excellence, innovation, and Quality Research Group of the Universidad de León (ULE), which is attached to the Department of General and Specific Didactics and Education Theory and led by Professor Isabel Cantón Mayo, is working to increase knowledge of the reasons and processes involved in school failure and success in primary and secondary education.
“We want to know why 23 per cent of non university students fail at school. By failure we understand both the administrative dimension of not passing the academic year and the personal dimension of abandonment, together with the social dimension of people unprepared for life”, the researcher explained to DiCYT.
In order to do so mixed qualitative and quantitative methodologies are used that reveal the opinions on the one hand of parents and teachers and on the other of students and the educational administration itself.
According to the expert these results mainly reflect family and social aspects. There is “a high correlation between broken homes and school failure, and especially between the family's purchasing power and school failure; poorer families have the highest failure rate”. It has been observed that school failure is higher “in the poorer quarters and in students from broken homes or families with financial problems”.
Opinions as to the reasons for school failure
As far as the causes are concerned, the research of the Didactic Excellence, innovation, and Quality Group of the ULE shows that the students themselves attribute their failure to a lack of study. Teachers also attribute students' failure to poor study habits and to the little attention parents pay their children. Parents however consider the students and the schools to be responsible for school failure.
“It is striking that 80% of school failure occurs in two subjects, maths and English; if this were corrected failure could drop by the same percentage”. However, the researcher regrets that “although the need for increasing the school timetable in these subjects has been pinpointed, nothing has been done”.
In general therefore, “despite the large amount of research into school failure and although it identifies the reasons and proposes solutions, little or nothing has been done based on the result of this research”.
The Didactic, Innovation, and Quality Research Group of the ULE was recognised by the Regional Government of Castilla y León as a Group of Excellence in a Resolution of 15th November 2007. The Group currently has five permanent members and another three members who are also part of other groups. One of the latest studies carried out in this field concentrated on school failure in the province of León and was the subject matter for a doctoral thesis.
|Cantón Mayo, I y García Pérez, A. (2012). “Evolución del fracaso escolar en la Provincia de León”. En: Tierras de León: Revista de la Diputación Provincial, ISSN 0495-5773, Vol. 47, Nº 128-129, 2008, págs. 191-220.|