MoEYS/UNESCO (2000)/NPRS (2005) reported that poverty was the most influential factor preventing students from getting achievement in school. 75% of students had poor study habits and examination techniques (Elliot and Wendling, 1996). According to the National Commission on Excellence in Education (NCEE) (1984), many students were not successful in school because of the lack of effective study skills, and it suggested that the students should learn study skills early in the schooling process and go on throughout the educational careers of the students. Entwistle (1960) pointed out that students who voluntarily took a study skills course were more successful than those who did not. Butcofsky (1991) claimed that having inadequate study habits made the students difficult in schools and affected their achievement. However, Tonjes and Zintz (1981) argued that the students had to learn study skills at the high school level because they did not have enough of reading, thinking, and study skills. Having skills in reading, writing, and mathematics developed students' academic abilities and without having these skills affected students' achievement (Bragstad and Stumpf, 1982; Devine, 1981). According to documents produced by BESE, the "Dynamics of Effective Study" course was better course to help students become effective, well-organized, and self-directed learners (Louisiana Department of Education, 1987).
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Conducting by means of literature review from several sources, this research aims at answering the following questions:
What are the factors that related to the students' achievement?
How can parents help their poor children be successful in school?
What do the government and school do to help poor students?
The following are the elaborations which are relevant to research problems including the factors connected with the study achievement (family background, student traits, and school factors); strategies to motivate students and government involvement to help those poor students.
Factors connected with the study achievement
Shujaa (1996) showed that three factors (family background, student traits, and school factors) influenced the study achievement.
Hedges and Greenwald (1996) and Krueger (1999) found that financial resources affected student achievement. Similarly, according to Coleman's (1966) landmark study on Equality of Educational Opportunity, he indicated that socioeconomic status played an important role for student achievement. Moreover, Tucker (1999) defined that students of high socioeconomic status generally seem to be successful than students of low socioeconomic status. The students performed better when the students have the socioeconomic resources (Luster and McAdoo, 1994). Comparing to students of high socioeconomic status, students of low socioeconomic status were likely to be unsuccessful in school (Newman et al., 2000). Furthermore, the expectations from families could also help students to do well in school (Irvine, 1990; Tucker, 1999). As mentioned in a student essay for Louisiana State University High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Ekeler, 1997), the family expectations was very important for the students in education (p. 62). In addition, family support affected student achievement (Lamborn et al., 1992; Kunjufu, 1988). Parents who continued the learning process at home could help students perform better in school (Ianni, 1987; Clark, 1983; Luneburg and Irby, 1999). Children's curriculum was supervised by their parents (Irvine, 1990). Students could not succeed unless parents inspired, supported, cared for, and sustained their children in education (Comer, 1980; Ford et al., 1995; Hale, 2001). Children did well in school with the hope from their parents (Clark, 1983; Irvine, 1990). Balster-Liontos (1992) demonstrated that parents' emphasis on education and student achievement had to go together.
Students performed better in school when they were motivated by achievement, had coping skills, and had high expectations (Pollard, 1989; Tucker, 1999). Haynes (1993) stated that having good study skills did help student achievement. Tucker (1999) explained that students failed in school because of poor study skills and without helping from their parents. Students who took advanced courses performed better than those who did not (Adams and Singh, 1998). Butcofsky (1971) and Rowher (1984) showed that developing their study habits, students could improve their achievement.
Student achievement was influenced by high expectations (Edmonds, 1979), curriculum (Adams and Singh, 1998; Irvine, 1990), tracking (Franklin, 1989), disciplinary practices (Irvine, 1990), and teachers' cultural characteristics (Ladson-Billings, 1994). Students in low-ability were affected by less experienced teachers (Braddock II, 1995). Students would be in the lowest ability groups when all students came from low socioeconomic students (Metz, 1978). Student achievement also relied on the cultural characteristics of teachers and students (Hale, 1982; Newmann, 1992). Students failed in school because of cultural misunderstandings between teachers and students (Irvine, 1990). Polite and Davis (1999) observed students would have high achievement when teachers had high expectations in school. Grouping students in the right place also helped students get success in school (Brewer, Rees, and Argys, 1995). Student achievement based on the hard work from teachers too (August and Pease-Alvarez, 1996). In order to help students get high performance, teachers had to give extra help to students who need it, especially among high-poverty (Charles A. Dana Center, 1999). According to a recent report by the National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students (Talley, 1999), a smaller class could improve student achievement.
Strategies to motivate students
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
In order to motivate students to learn, several strategies are needed: (1) identify students' interests (Tonjes and Zintz, 1981); (2) identify attitudes of students in reading (Lewis and Teal, 1980); (3) choose materials that meet the interests, abilities, and attitudes of the students (Tonjes and Zintz, 1981); (4) give clear objectives of the lessons and assignments (Tonjes and Zintz, 1981); (5) let students choose the task and materials to complete and (6) allow students to set their own goals for achievement.
Raffini (1988) described the four strategies that can help students to learn more:
1. Individual goal-setting structures let students make their own criteria for success.
2. Outcome-based instruction and evaluation make it possible for slower students to experience success without having to compete with faster students.
3. Attribution retraining can help apathetic students view failure as a lack of effort rather than a lack of ability.
4. Cooperative learning activities help students realize that personal effort can contribute to group as well as individual goals. (p. 27)
IV. Government involvement
According to Poverty Profiles (1999), the poverty was about 36% in 1999. Education for All (EFA) played an important role to improve and develop human resources especially poor students by the National Plan for 2003-2015 (2003) of the Royal Government of Cambodia. In addition, the National Plan for 2003-2015 (2003) emphasized that in order to arrive at its own Socio Economic Development Plan II (SEDP II) by means of equalizing educational access among its both advantaged and disadvantaged students; the Government strongly believed EFA was the first mechanism for Cambodia. Poverty Reduction Strategic Plan (PRSP) of 2002 also encouraged EFA plan to reduce poverty in Cambodia to help poor students in Cambodia Basic Education. To deal with the poor students, the Royal Government of Cambodia with Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports needed to carry out the following tasks. UNICEF (2005) pointed out that first the MoEYS had to guarantee that all Cambodian students, especially the poor, were given equal educational opportunity; second offered more opportunities for vulnerable groups to get basic education; third built additional schools in remote areas; four provided school operational budget; fifth reduced repetition; sixth gave more opportunities for students out of school to start again; seventh created programs for out-of-school youth to get equal education; eighth enlarged literacy programs for adult; and finally selected teachers from remote areas and ethnic minority groups.
Both Poverty Reduction Strategic Plan (PRSP) and Socio Economic Development Plan II (SEDPII) were the significant parts to help the poor or other disadvantaged students in school (EFA, 2003, p. 12). The current education reform process, which will be incorporated into the longer term EFA planning process, incorporates specific partnership arrangements and principles between MoEYS and its education partners. Key milestones of Education Reform Process, 2000/2002 in the partnership process between MoEYS and education partners and the connection between education and broader Government reforms were described below:
Focusing on reducing cost burden on the poor
Formulation of preliminary education policy and strategic framework in mid-2000
MoEYS, donor and NGO seminars on international experiences to education reform in mid/late 2000
Formal agreement to education partnership principles by MoEYS, donor, NGO consultative group in early 2001
Joint review and appraisal of ESP and ESSP and collaborative forward plan and high level education round table in mid 2001
Complementary capacity building assistance program by key donor allies in early 2002
MoEYS, donor, NGO preparation of poverty impact, sector performance, revised ESSP and donor/NGO report review in late 2002
Drawing on the policy and strategic directions set out in the revised ESSP 2002/6 in late 2002 (EFA, 2003, pp. 12).
With the explanations in response to the above research questions, the researcher can see that factors connected with the study achievement including family background, student traits, and school factors are the first concern. Motivation which comes from both parents and teachers seems to be the second concern. Finally, government involvement is the third concern. Of all the concerns influence the students' achievement. As can be seen in the above literature reviews, to solve these concerns, family background, student traits, school factors and the government play major roles to help students to get success in school. With all the concerns successfully accomplished, students, especially poor students are likely to be successful in school accordingly.
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