Influencing academic resilience and self-regulation in students. An intervention in Mathematics

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence


Topic of the dissertation

Influencing academic resilience and self-regulation in students. An intervention in Mathematics

Doctoral candidate

Doctor of Philosophy Alexander Krzensk

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Education, Education

Subject of study



Associate Professor Kalle Juuti, University of Helsinki


Professor Sanna Järvelä, University of Oulu

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Quality over quantity – Developing student self-regulation and resilience improves test scores in Australian Year 7 Mathematics exams

While the logical solution to improve exam results is to practice more, research has long indicated that students who are better learners do no need to simply practice more. Rather, they constantly leverage the learning time they have in an increasingly efficient way.

While the development of learning skills such as self-regulation and academic resilience are obvious, their place in curriculum is disconnected from individual subjects and housed as part of general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. This disconnect of SRL, in particular, from subjects has resulted is the perpetual assumption that it will be developed somewhere else within the curriculum if at all. Hence, as schools are pressured to improve test results, the development of SRL is further diminished and the default response is to teach more content.

This study aimed to show a direct connection between the development of student self-regulation and resilience, and improved test results. In addition, the study also aimed to determine if the development of these skills with low achieving students had a larger impact as they tended to struggle with the self-regulation more than their peers.

This study used curriculum time in Year 7 Mathematics classes at a boys’ school to develop SRL and resilience once a fortnight over the entire school year in Brisbane, Australia. As students developed their understanding of the skills, they were able to practice using them during these lessons focussing on their Mathematicss. Student test scores over four years were collected and analysed.

The results indicated that the students who had been part of the study consistently did better than the students who were not part of the study. Morover, low achieving students improved the most. In summarising these findings, the consistent development of self-regulation and resilience was found to have a significant positive impact on student test scores. As such, it highlights the need for schools to focus on developing the skills in students that supporting independent learning while withstanding the pressure to simply ‘practice more’.
Last updated: 1.3.2023