Supporting high academic expectations

This publication was originally published 29 June 2020.

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When teachers hold high academic expectations of their students, they tend to know their students well, value them as learners and understand how to progress their learning. This synthesis of research explains why high expectations are important and provides practical suggestions for schools to support their students.

Key findings

  • Students who experience high expectations have improved learning outcomes and are also more likely to have:
    • increased interest and motivation in lessons
    • greater attendance
    • more positive school behaviours
    • a higher likelihood of completing school.
  • High academic expectations are linked to both student engagement and wellbeing and can also impact the teaching practices that students experience in the classroom.
  • Teachers promote high expectations of their students when they differentiate instruction, provide individualised feedback and engage in frequent, meaningful classroom interactions in order to challenge their students and encourage continuous improvement.
  • Schools demonstrate their high expectations of students by using data to inform practices, building a culture of school pride and partnering with the community to indicate pathways for students’ success.

Student sense of belonging in NSW public schools

Students report on the level of belonging at school that they experience in the student survey offered to NSW public schools – Tell Them From Me (TTFM). TTFM reports on student, parent and teacher perspectives of their school and provides data on students’ wellbeing and engagement, as well as the teaching practices they encounter in the classroom. This paper presents findings on how to support students' sense of belonging, drawn from longitudinal modelling of TTFM data, NSW case studies and literature reviews conducted by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE). Accompanying papers provide findings on how to support high academic expectations and advocacy at school and to support school improvement with TTFM.

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