Home' Focus : Focus Magazine Autumn 2015 Contents 16
Hope, Engagement and Wellbeing are key
drivers of a student’s academic success. How
do we know this? The international research
giant, Gallup, has been surveying students in
the United States for 40 years, and the data
collected paints a clear picture of what drives
good student outcomes through secondary and
tertiary levels and future employment.
Gallup has been conducting its survey in
Australia for the past three years, and in 2014,
Year 5 students at Scotch Oakburn took part
for the first time.
Pleasingly, our College scored remarkable
results in this study of student attitudes to
learning and life.
While some data is subject to copyright and
cannot be shared, it is fair to say that on all
measures Scotch Oakburn College excelled
and sat well above all other benchmarks.
Peggy Jasperson, a senior consultant at
Gallup who visited the Junior School to discuss
the findings, was glowing in her praise of the
learning environment on the Elphin Campus and
the results from the Year 5 group.
“What you are doing is working,” Jasperson
said. “Every child is happy to be here. They just
love it. It is an exciting place for them to be and
it shows in their scores.”
Students were presented with 20 questions
and asked to rank their responses from one to
five, with five being ‘strongly agreed’ and one
being ‘strongly disagreed’.
The poll found that for hope, 75 per cent
of our students were in that top category, the
score for engagement was 81%, exactly as it
was for well-being.
The figures have provided tangible evidence
of the effectiveness of the dynamic, student-
centred learning environment on the Elphin
Campus and point to a bright future – in formal
education and beyond – for Scotch Oakburn
There is also a section of the poll relating
to entrepreneurial spirit. Again, the Scotch
Oakburn students’ score was very strong. The
entrepreneurial part of the survey is designed to
reflect students’ powers of innovation, creativity
and the ability to identify new opportunities.
Jasperson told a workshop at conneXions
during Term One that great Principals led to
engaged teachers. Skilled and creative teachers
led to engaged students who were more likely
to fulfil their potential. The research underlined
the importance of maintaining and building
student hope and well-being to keep them
engaged in their learning and confident about
Lachie Wright, Head of Junior School,
emphasised the importance of relevant,
authentic and dynamic learning programs that
capitalised on personal interests and strengths
in maintaining student engagement.
“Having visiting authors and athletes, robotics,
simple machine construction, instrumental
music, enrichment programs and the art and
chess clubs are just a few examples of the
richness of the Junior School program,” Mr
“When all of this takes place in a culture
where student ownership of, and responsibility
for, learning is guided and supported, where
the learning facilities – both indoor and
outdoor – are designed to facilitate interactive
and collaborative problem-solving based
learning, and where the home-school learning
partnership is strong, student wellbeing and
academic outcomes are maximised.
“The overall Gallup Poll results for the cohort
were exceptionally positive and compared very
favourably with data across Australian schools.”
Ben Green, Deputy Head of Junior School,
also says the great results from the survey were,
in part, because of the learning environment
at the Elphin Campus, which has been further
enhanced in recent years with the addition of
the huge Claremont Garden.
“The learning environment at the College
is critical, and that includes the physical
environment, the personal environment and
the thinking environment – the cognitive
experiences students can have,” Mr Green said.
“The Elphin Campus provides unique and
special spaces for students to connect with
learning, and there is no better example of this
than in Claremont Garden.”
Hope, Engagement and Wellbeing
Hope: The ideas and energy students have
for the future. It describes how confident
students feel about achieving their goals,
dreams and ideal outcomes in life.
Engagement: Student involvement in and
enthusiasm for school. Engaged students
arrive at school prepared and eager to learn.
They are more likely to promote excitement
about learning in those around them.
Wellbeing: Describes how students think
about and experience their lives. Wellbeing
tells schools how their students are managing
today and predicts their success in the future.
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