From grades to student capability: shifting the focus

Is the pressure on students to achieve top grades counterproductive? Nicola Lambros, deputy head of King's College The British School of Madrid, explains to Relocate why schools should focus on developing self-efficacy.

At a time when parents are worried about the pressure piled on their children as they strive for top grades to access the best universities, research has been revealed that puts a strong case for ‘self-efficacy’.Nicola Lambros, deputy head of King's College The British School of Madrid, presented to delegates at the COBIS National Conference the findings of her research, which should reassure relocating parents.Ms Lambros explained that schools needed to build students’ self-efficacy (defined as a belief in one's ability to succeed in a situation or accomplish a task), so their belief in both their academic abilities and their self-regulatory capabilities (their ability to organise themselves, stay focused, and be disciplined in their studies) was very important.“From the research that I've been doing, and looking at the context of education today, we are very grades focused. And that can actually cause students to have less self-efficacy and feel that they're not as capable as they could be,” Nicola Lambros told Relocate, explaining that this lack of self-belief could lead to a host of problems, including underachievement, childhood depression, dropping out of school and education, and, ultimately, lack of career success.Find out more in our video interview – part of Relocate’s Headteacher Insights series – which also covers:
  • Focusing on the 'whole school’ culture
  • Recognising that mental health can be an issue
  • Working to build students’ self-confidence



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