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Academic Buoyancy Print or save as PDF

How is it defined?

Academic buoyancy is defined as students' ability to overcome setbacks and challenges that are typical of the ordinary course of school life (Martin & Marsh, 2008a). The concept of academic buoyancy focuses on a student’s response to their everyday challenges that emphasises proactive rather than reactive approaches to academic adversity.

The Tell Them From Me framework on student engagement includes measures of social, institutional and intellectual engagement. Academic buoyancy relates to students’ intellectual engagement and can potentially protect against downward academic trajectories associated with faltering academic-related inclination, interest and energy (Martin, 2013). It is closely connected to academic self-concept and perseverance measures. Combined, these measures provide information about students’ self-perceptions of positive emotions and their ability to navigate everyday school life.

Why is it important?

  • Academic buoyancy is positively associated with academic intentions, self-efficacy, persistence and valuing and enjoying school, and negatively associated with disengagement (Martin & Marsh, 2008b).
  • Studies demonstrate that anxiety is strongly associated with low academic buoyancy, leading academics to suggest that one way of reducing students’ anxiety involves helping them prepare and deal with the stresses and anxieties associated with academic challenges (Martin & Marsh, 2008; Waxman, Huang & Padron, 1997).

How do we measure it?

In the Tell Them From Me secondary school questionnaire, students respond to Likert questions about how well they deal with challenges that occur at school. The questions refer to statements such as ‘I think I'm good at dealing with schoolwork pressures’, ‘I don't let a bad mark affect my confidence’, etc. The scores are scaled on a 10-point scale and the results are reported as the ‘average score for academic buoyancy’.

This briefing note is for a DOE custom well-being measure, and has been prepared by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation.



Martin, A. J., & Marsh, H. W. (2008a). Academic buoyancy: Towards an understanding of students' everyday academic resilience. Journal of school psychology, 46(1), 53-83.

Martin, A. J., & Marsh, H. W. (2008b). Workplace and academic buoyancy: Psychometric assessment and construct validity amongst school personnel and students. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 26(2), 168-184.

Martin, A. J., & Marsh, H. W. (2009). Academic resilience and academic buoyancy: Multidimensional and hierarchical conceptual framing of causes, correlates and cognate constructs. Oxford Review of Education, 35(3), 353-370.

Martin, A.J. (2013). The Personal Proficiency Network: Key self-system factors and processes to optimize academic development. In D.M. McInerney, H.W. Marsh., R.G. Craven, & F. Guay (Eds). Theory driving research: New wave perspectives on self-processes and human development. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Waxman, H. C., Huang, S. L., & Padron, Y. N. (1997). Motivation and learning environment differences between resilient and non-resilient Latino middle school students. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 19, 137−155.