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Enhanced student achievement is arguably the most important outcome of schooling at any level. Unfortunately, there are so many, often competing, claims about how to enhance student achievement that the views often talk across each other. This leads to an "everything goes" attitude toward interventions and the acceptance of weak measures of achievement. The result is that in many schools each teacher is permitted to introduce their own methods and interventions. This volume brings together and critically examines the major influences shaping student cognitive achievement and considers their relative importance. It does not tell people what to do in their schools and classrooms. It simply provides them with the first-ever compendium of research that summarizes what is known about the major influences shaping students academic achievement. Readers can then creatively apply this knowledge base to their own school and classroom organizational patterns, their curriculums and teaching strategies, and their teacher training programs. The entries can, therefore, be viewed as intellectual building blocks to be creatively mixed and matched into new or existing educational arrangements. Key features of this groundbreaking book include the following. Organization Influences are organized by their point of origin: 1) student 2) home 3) school 4) classroom 5) teacher 6) curriculum 7) teaching approaches and 8) national/international setting. Entries Entries vary in length from 2,000 - 2,500 words (3-4 pages) depending on the amount of evidence supporting each entry. Each entry includes the following sections. *Brief introduction defining and describing the topic's origins and history *Research Findings (main section) * Applications/Recommendations for practice * List of 6-12 references (with at least 1/3rd being non US authored). Presentation In order to be accessible to all stakeholders in education (teachers, teacher educators and their students, administrators, school boards, policy makers at all levels, concerned parents), articles have been kept as nontechnical as possible. International Expertise Each entry is written by a recognized expert on the topic at hand and, to insure international representation, half of the section editors are from outside the USA.