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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Review of Research on Educational Resilience


One area of research that has important implications for improving the education of students at risk of academic failure is concerned with “resilient” students, or those students who succeed in school despite the presence of adverse conditions. In education, conceptual and empirical work on resilience has gained recognition as a framework for examining why some students are successful in school, while others from the same socially- and economically-disadvantaged backgrounds and communities are not. Such a framework could be useful in helping educators design more effective educational interventions that take into account “alterable” factors that distinguish resilient students from nonresilient students. The purpose of this report is to explain how a focus on educational resiliency might lead to improvements in the education of students at risk of academic failure. Issues related to the definition of resiliency are discussed, and several resilience studies that have helped to develop the field are reviewed. Recent studies in the area of educational resiliency are examined, specifically those that focus on the differences between resilient and nonresilient students, their family environment, and their perceptions of the classroom and school environment. The final sections of the report discuss implications for educational practice and research.

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