Boarding and day school students: a large-scale multilevel investigation of academic outcomes among students and classrooms

Andrew J. Martin*, Emma C. Burns, Roger Kennett, Joel Pearson, Vera Munro-Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Boarding school is a major educational option for many students (e.g., students living in remote areas, or whose parents are working interstate or overseas, etc.). This study explored the motivation, engagement, and achievement of boarding and day students who are educated in the same classrooms and receive the same syllabus and instruction from the same teachers (thus a powerful research design to enable unique comparisons). Among 2,803 students (boarding n = 481; day n = 2,322) from 6 Australian high schools and controlling for background attributes and personality, we found predominant parity between boarding and day students in their motivation, engagement, and achievement. We also found that classroom-average motivation, engagement, and achievement was not significantly affected by the number of boarders (relative to day students) in the classroom. In addition, the effects of boarding were generally not moderated by students’ background or personality attributes. We conclude that boarders have academic opportunities and outcomes that are comparable to their day student counterparts. Implications for students, teachers, and parents are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number608949
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • boarding
  • residential
  • motivation
  • engagement
  • achievement
  • science


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