Values education: good practices and school effectiveness

Values education: good practices and school effectiveness

Different researches suggest that systemised, quality values education not only helps to build character in pupils, but that it also enables effective learning, hence improving academic results.

The purpose of this project is to analyse the relationship of values education with school effectiveness and to detect good practices in primary schools in the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC). Specifically: 1) to identify the role played by values education in high and low achieving schools; 2) to analyse values education in high-achieving schools; and 3) to know the reality of one high and one low- achieving school in this field.

This research is descriptive and based on a mixed research design, using quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis techniques.

As far as the procedure is concerned, after having identified a total of 33 primary schools in the BAC—17 of which were high-achieving (HAS) and 16 low- achieving (LAS) — using multilevel modelling statistical techniques, a study was carried out on values education at the selected schools. In this first stage, data was obtained on the Diagnostic Evaluation of Social and Civic Skill for 3.075 primary school pupils (52.7% boys and 47.3% girls) with the participation of three key informants: 31 Education Inspectorate professionals, 28 Managerial Teams and 224 teachers (25.2% men and 74.8% women).

Subsequently, analysis was made of the beliefs of the education community with respect to values education and good practices were detected in this field at high- achieving primary schools in the BAC. In this second stage, the sample is made up of 391 pupils (52.4% boys and 47.57% girls), 24 teachers (25% men and 75% women) and 455 families (28.7% fathers and 71.3% mothers). The 5 Management Teams at these schools also participated.

Lastly, a study was made of multiple cases with a view to establishing the comparison between values education at one HAS and one LAS school. In this third stage, the sample is made up of 156 pupils (58.3% boys and 41.7% girls), 9 teachers (55.5% men and 44.5% women) and 162 families (29.6% fathers and 70.4% mothers). Two Education Inspectorate agents and 2 Management Teams also participated.

When collecting the quantitative data information, the pupils, teachers and families were given a questionnaire to complete. For their part, the qualitative data collection techniques include a semi-structured interview with the Education Inspectorate staff and Management Teams, discussion groups with the teachers and documentary analysis of the schools participating in the case study.

Next, the main results of this work were compiled. The Social and Civic Skill of pupils at HAS primary schools is significantly higher than that of pupils at LAS schools. The HAS teachers place greater importance on values education than those at LAS schools. The level of habits and values acquired by pupils at HAS schools is high. A diversity of strategies was found, used by teachers (Cooperative Learning, Tutorial Action Plan, etc.) in the classroom and by families at home (Modelling, Dialogue, etc.) with a view to values education.

The main conclusions are the following: 1) values education plays an important part in the effectiveness of primary schools in the BAC; 2) values education at high-achieving primary schools in the CAV has been characterised; 3) good practices regarding values education has been detected at these schools; and 4) the influence of contextual factors considered in the research is confirmed. Lastly, the different implications deriving from the work in regard to educational practice are proposed.

For more information:

Azkarate-Morales, A. (2019). Educación en Valores: Buenas Prácticas y Eficacia Escolar. UPV/EHU.

Skills needed:
Doctoral thesis, School