Wittenborg Research Confirms Efficacy of Homework Support
Wittenborg's campus in Amsterdam was recently commissioned to investigate the effect of a homework support programme on the academic performance of schoolchildren in G Noord, statistically one of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods of the Bijlmer area of Amsterdam. (Read the previous article here). Buurt Talent Ontwikkeling (BTO), a social enterprise, provides homework support to pupils in Amsterdam Southeast whose parents lack financial resources or skills. BTO encompasses the spirit of vision-driven social entrepreneurship by providing a platform for youth talent development. This made it an interesting business case study for Wittenborg students.
The research was led by Senior Lecturers Amy Abdou, Dr Dadi Chen and Andreas Ooijer. Students from Wittenborg's Amsterdam campus were also involved in the research design, literature review, interview process and data analysis. The research findings confirmed the efficacy of the homework support given by BTO. By measuring the pre- and post-study advice of pupils exiting primary education, the team was able to correlate participation in the BTO programme with a rise in final 'studie advice', the recommendations for a pupil's next step for secondary school. The findings also revealed that BTO pupils are more likely to receive recommendations for Senior General Secondary Education (HAVO) or Pre-University Education (VWO) compared to the average student in the neighbourhood.
BTO programme turns students' weaknesses into strengths
Commenting on her participation in the research, Soliendley Everett, a third-year Entrepreneurial Business Administration (EBA) student, said, “The reason why I wanted to help evaluate the BTO programme is to maintain this programme for the future multicultural generation. It is a unique concept that helps children from different backgrounds and cultures to develop their weaknesses into strengths, not only at an academic level, but also on a personal level."
Reflecting that the problems these children face is something that she is familiar with because of her own cultural background, Everett said that being part of the research was a great experience for her. She had had the opportunity to interview several of the children that are attending the programme and ex-participants, and some of them, according to her, have left her speechless. "I was amazed how these 10-12 year-olds have a clear view of what career path they want to follow."
Where you come from does not define where you are going to end up in the future
Everett is excited about starting her work placement at Stichting Ala Kondre Multicutureel Centrum, which is where BTO is located. She said that they provide her with the opportunity to not only give back to the community of Amsterdam Southeast that has been part of her life the last two years, but it also allows her to make a potential difference in these children's lives. Everett strongly believes that where you come from does not define where you are going to end up in the future. "You have your own future in your own hands. It all depends on hard work and what you put in to overcome the limitations and obstacles you come across along the road towards achieving your goals." To her, BTO is a perfect example of an organisation that shows these children that, with hard work, they can achieve great things.
Lily Seijffert, also a third-year EBA student at Wittenborg Amsterdam who participated in the data collection agrees: “I would like to give the children in this community a better future and hopefully let the programme continue or grow. I learned from the interviews that parents are incredibly grateful. This was very fulfilling to hear.”
As a business university with a highly diverse international student body that focuses on social entrepreneurship, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences is uniquely positioned to become a bridge in the transfer of academic research and knowledge to regional educational institutions. The outcome of this research will be presented next year at Spellman College as part of a series of guest lectures. Amy Abdou, Senior Lecturer at Wittenborg, has been invited to deliver a lecture during a political science research seminar. Students who took part in this research project are also invited to participate in a session.
By Hanna Abdelwahab, Amy Abdou and Soliendley Everett
©Wittenborg University Press