Well-Being and Academic Achievement: Towards a New Evidence-Based Educational Paradigm

  • Alejandro Adler


Should schools teach the skills for well-being? Embedded in the concept of education is the notion of changing individuals in a particular direction, of taking them from their current state to, ideally, a better one. That direction is informed by how we measure success in an educational setting. If schools measure only academic performance, as they traditionally have, then effective schools will produce students who learn how to excel academically and perform well on standardized tests. However, if schools choose to measure and teach multifaceted well-being, they may empower their students to lead flourishing lives as well. We review the literature on youth well-being, on youth well-being measurement, and on the relationships between student well-being, academic achievement, and professional success. Even though existing data suggest that student well-being improves academic performance and predicts career success, there are few rigorous experimental studies on student well-being and academic achievement. We argue that this is unexplored fertile scientific territory and that before well-being is incorporated into schools’ curricula on a large scale, further experimental research is needed. Future rigorous experimental research can identify the most effective youth well-being interventions, their impact on academic achievement, and the mechanisms through which well-being improves academic performance. Filling this missing empirical gap can best inform educational public policy focused on academic performance and on life skills.


Well-being Schools Achievement Performance Skills Positive education 


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Copyright information

© The Anglican Church of Australia Collegiate School of Saint Peter trading as St Peter's College 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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