Study: Mental Health, Challenges Outside School Largest Barriers to K–12 Student Success

A new report from global education institution McGraw Hill sheds some light on the relationship between challenges outside the classroom, like mental health and behavioral problems, with academic success in K–12 schools, according to a news release. The McGraw Hill Global Education Insights Report: Learning Outcomes & the Digital Classroom also explores the positive impact of technology and artificial intelligence (AI) on student success. The survey was conducted among more than 1,000 K–12 and higher-education educators across 19 countries.

In the results, 57% of respondents called challenges beyond school (such as family support) as the largest obstacle to student success. Other high-ranked obstacles included behavior struggles, mental health issues, and lack of foundational skills and knowledge. Educators polled also indicated concerns that AI in the classroom would negatively impact student skills like social skills, critical thinking, memory retention, academic integrity, and creativity.

However, 41% of respondents said they believe AI’s impact on student outcomes has been mostly positive, in contrast to the 19% who believe it has been mostly negative. The highest-indicated perceived benefits of AI were reported to be reducing time spent on administrative tasks (65%) and the personalization of learning experiences for individual students (63%).

“We must do all we can to ensure educators around the world feel supported at every level, so they can help students overcome these obstacles and succeed,” said McGraw Hill CEO Simon Allen. “It's understandable that educators would feel anxiety and uncertainty about the effects emerging technologies and AI have on their students. So it’s important that we look for opportunities where it can dispel this anxiety, where technology can save educators time and facilitate student-teacher engagement.”

Respondents reported concerns related to the negative effect of AI on facets like academic integrity (32%), critical thinking (31%), memory retention (30%), and relationships and social skills (29%).

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].