1703 North Beauregard St.
Alexandria, VA 22311-1714
Tel: 1-800-933-ASCD (2723)
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday
Local to the D.C. area: 1-703-578-9600
Toll-free from U.S. and Canada: 1-800-933-ASCD (2723)
All other countries: (International Access Code) + 1-703-578-9600
by Robert J. Marzano
Table of Contents
One of the perceived truisms in education has been that student background characteristics are the most important determinants of student achievement. Indeed, as discussed in Chapter 1, this was one of the primary conclusions of the studies by Coleman and colleagues (1966) and by Jencks and colleagues (1972). It has also been assumed that, implicitly or explicitly, these background characteristics are largely impervious to change. Popular books such as Bias in Mental Testing by Arthur Jensen (1980) and The Bell Curve by Richard Heurnstein and Charles Murray (1994) have made elaborate statistical cases that background characteristics, particularly intelligence, are genetically based and can be changed little by schooling. In contrast, I believe that the research clearly shows that even some of most negative aspects of a student's background can be mediated by school-based interventions.
In Chapter 1, I supplied evidence that schools generally account for only 20 percent of the variance in student achievement and that student background characteristics account for the other 80 percent. But what if a school could do something about those background characteristics? In the next three chapters, we explore which student background factors schools can address and what they might do about them. What, then, are the student background characteristics that influence academic achievement?
You must be an ASCD Select or Premium member to view this content. Log in.
Copyright © 2003 by Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. All rights reserved.
No part of this publication—including the drawings, graphs, illustrations, or chapters, except for brief quotations in
critical reviews or articles—may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from ASCD.
Subscribe to ASCD Express, our free e-mail newsletter, to have practical, actionable strategies and information delivered to your e-mail inbox twice a month.
ASCD respects intellectual property rights and adheres to the laws governing them. Learn more about our permissions policy and submit your request online.