ACADEMIC OPTIMISM AND NON-COGNITIVE OUTCOMES IN CZECH LOWER SECONDARY SCHOOLS
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Educational effectiveness research shows that teacher beliefs influence how teachers interact with students and thus affect not only the quality of their instruction but also students’ learning outcomes. A teacher’s interpersonal relationship styles, supportiveness, and mind set with regard to all students’ abilities to succeed were found to be predictive not only of students’ academic achievement, but also of non-cognitive outcomes such as engagement in school, learning motivation, or positive social development. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between three non-cognitive outcomes of Czech lower secondary students in grade 9, perseverance, self-efficacy, and educational aspirations, and the attitudes of their teachers that are operationalized as academic optimism. The data set used for the analysis presented in this paper contained data from 4798 grade 9 students and 1469 teachers from 124 basic schools and 39 grammar schools that was collected in the Czech Longitudinal Study in Education in 2016. Two-level structural equation modelling is used to test the hypothesis that students’ non-cognitive outcomes are related to the academic optimism of their teachers. Academic optimism was directly related to both students’ self-efficacy and class composition according to socio-economic status. These are very important findings with respect to tracking practices in the Czech education system since they exhibit not only early tracking but also a strong differentiation within individual tracks according to socio-economic status.
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