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Long-Term Trajectories of Academic Performance in the Context of Social Disparities: Longitudinal Findings From Switzerland

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Abstract

This study used a stratified random sample of classes in Zurich, Switzerland, comprising approximately 2,000 students whose academic performances in math and language were assessed across primary and lower secondary education. Based on this longitudinal data, the study investigated the association of social inequalities with the baseline of, and gains in, academic performance. The study focused on growing social disparities in academic performance during compulsory education, taking into account disparities in the social backgrounds of students as well as in social deprivation of school attendance areas. The results of a multilevel growth curve analysis implemented to model academic performance development at student and school district levels suggest cumulative disadvantages for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. These students (a) start school with lower initial knowledge and (b) experience lower improvements in academic performance. The findings also suggest that more advantaged school attendance areas achieved higher average performance levels in the early stages of primary education despite controlling for student socioeconomic backgrounds. On average, however, this gap in academic performance between more advantaged and more deprived attendance areas did not appear to widen over the subsequent years of compulsory schooling.

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... The baccalaureate rate in the Canton of Zurich, for instance, shows a wide variation between municipalities ranging from 5.5 to 44 percent [4]. Empirical evidence suggests that the residential area where individuals live is associated with educational behavior and success [5][6][7]. While the gap in educational disparities between rural and urban areas has narrowed over the decades, the regional dimension has gained importance due to demographic changes [8]. ...
... As these ties are closer among persons belonging to similar social groups, residential areas, neighborhoods, and schools tend to be socially segregated. On the one hand, this results in privileged neighborhoods whose residents favor academic pathways to avoid a loss of status [7,41]. On the other hand, there are neighborhoods that face major socioeconomic challenges. ...
... In the Canton of Zurich, the place of residence and the places available in a school serve as the basis of the allocation of students to a school. Therefore, the socioeconomic composition of neighborhoods mirrors school compositions and thus leads to school segregation [7,60]. ...
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The Canton of Zurich is characterized by strong socio-spatial polarization typical for large and dynamic metropolitan areas. A helpful way to depict spatial dimensions is spatial typologies. Existing spatial categorizations of the Canton of Zurich are limited for education because they focus primarily on economic factors, which are not the only predictors of educational behavior and success. In this paper, we develop a typology of municipalities in the Canton of Zurich that is useful for educational analyses and administrative activity. Theoretically, we consider socio-spatial structures as opportunities and constraints of the spatial and social contexts related to educational participation. We differentiate between two levels: socioeconomic composition and regional structures. The socioeconomic composition of a neighborhood is assumed to influence the way residents think and act through social interactions. Regional structures refer to the variation in the specificity and accessibility of institutional settings of the labor market, the education system, and extracurricular stimulation. The analyses are based on official statistics. We use factor analysis to identify the main components within the two levels. Their combination results in a spatial typology consisting of five types. They show significant differences in indicators of educational participation, which illustrates the relevance of the typology for the education sector.
... A plethora of empirical studies have suggested nonlinear developmental trajectories of children's academic achievement in various domains throughout childhood and adolescence (Aikens & Barbarin, 2008;Bloom, Hill, Black, & Lipsey, 2008;Cameron, Grimm, Steele, Castro-Schilo, & Grissmer, 2015;Ding & Davison, 2005;Helbling, Tomasik, & Moser, 2019;Parrila, Aunola, Leskinen, Nurmi, & Kirby, 2005). The general trend of academic development for most children in many countries indicates steeper rise during earlier schooling and continued but relatively slower growth later into schooling. ...
... The general trend of academic development for most children in many countries indicates steeper rise during earlier schooling and continued but relatively slower growth later into schooling. However, researchers also found great individual differences in children's academic development, including both the starting levels and the changing patterns of their academic skills (Helbling et al., 2019;Wang et al., 2017). For example, children's initial academic levels and their growth rate were often found to be negatively or not significantly associated, suggesting initially low-performing students to gradually catch up or not growing more slowly than their initially high-performing peers (e.g., Ding & Davison, 2005;Parrila et al., 2005). ...
... The diverse academic trajectories identified for migrant and urban children's mathematics and literacy are consistent with the plethora of western studies (Aikens & Barbarin, 2008;Bloom et al., 2008;Cameron et al., 2015;Ding & Davison, 2005;Helbling et al., 2019;Parrila et al., 2005) and the handful of Chinese studies (Fu et al., 2016;Lei et al., 2011;Lu & Zhou, 2013) on heterogeneous academic development. For both migrant and urban children, the majority of them started with moderate literacy and mathematics performance and remained relatively stable across the 1 year of the study period. ...
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The positive development of migrant children in China is hampered due to their unequal accessibility to quality urban education resources. This research aimed at exploring the developmental trajectories of migrant and urban children's literacy and mathematics performance, as well as the impact of family socioeconomic status (SES) and parenting styles, including the mediating effect of parenting styles, by comparing migrant children with their urban counterparts. Growth mixture modeling identified distinguishable trajectories of mathematics development for migrant children (i.e., “falling behind” and “keeping pace” groups) and urban children (i.e., “catching up” and “keeping pace” groups), as well as distinguishable trajectories of literacy development for migrant children (i.e., “jumpstarting” and “keeping pace” groups) and urban children (“falling behind” and “steadily progressing” groups). Multinomial logistic regression analyses further clarified that authoritative parenting increased the likelihood of favorable trajectories of migrant children's mathematics development and urban children's literacy and mathematics development. Family SES enhanced migrant children's mathematics development. Family SES contributed to urban children's literacy development through authoritative parenting, yet such a mediating effect was not observed for migrant children. This study highlights the importance of focusing on distinct trajectories of migrant and urban children's literacy and mathematics in improving their school achievement.
... Parecem não existir grandes dúvidas acerca da influência do estatuto socioeconómico (ESE) das famílias nos resultados e no percurso escolar dos/as alunos/as. A relação entre o ESE das famílias e os resultados escolares dos/as alunos/as tem sido demonstrada em diversos estudos (e.g., Chmielewski, 2019;Helbling et al., 2019;von Stumm, 2019) e em análises realizadas aos resultados obtidos através de testes estandardizados efetuados no âmbito de programas internacionais de avaliação dos/as alunos/as, designadamente do Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), do Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) ou do Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS; e.g., Félix et al., 2020;OCDE, 2019). Este é um fenómeno que não conhece fronteiras, no sentido em que não é específico de um país ou de uma região do globo, e cujas consequências se fazem sentir ao longo do ciclo de vida dos indivíduos (e.g., Martins et al., 2016). ...
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Os efeitos da pandemia Covid-19 fizeram-se sentir nos mais diversos domínios da vida em sociedade. Perante o encerramento das escolas, a solução a que se recorreu, um pouco por todo o mundo, consistiu na substituição do ensino presencial pelo ensino remoto de emergência. A transição de modalidade de ensino influenciou a aprendizagem dos/as alunos/as, tornando-os/as mais dependentes do apoio e dos recursos familiares, colocando no centro do debate educativo a questão do impacto das desigualdades sociais no processo de ensino e aprendizagem. O presente artigo corresponde a uma revisão sistemática da literatura realizada com os objetivos de: a) identificar e des-crever os efeitos do encerramento das escolas no processo de ensino e aprendizagem; e b) com-preender que medidas foram adotadas no sentido de minimizar o efeito das desigualdades sociais nos resultados escolares. Os dados recolhidos parecem demonstrar uma correspondência entre a qualidade do processo de ensino e aprendizagem dos/as alunos/as e o capital económico e cultural das famílias, revelando o agravamento das desigualdades escolares provocadas pela pandemia. Palavras-chave: pandemia Covid-19, encerramento de escolas, ensino remoto de emergência, desigualdades sociais e escolares
... Social origins can influence educational trajectories through various mechanisms, including educational decisions and aspirations (e.g., Boudon, 1974;Bygren and Rosenqvist, 2020;Gabay-Egozi, Shavit and Yaish, 2010;Jonsson and Rudolphi, 2011;Schindler and Lörz, 2012), habitus-i.e., a disposition toward education and positive orientation toward schooling (Bourdieu, 1986;Gaddis, 2013;Roksa and Robinson, 2017)-and economic, social, and cultural resources (Bourdieu and Passeron, 1970;Burger, 2019;Denice, 2019;Goldrick-Rab et al., 2016;Helbling, Tomasik and Moser, 2019;Reichelt, Collischon and Eberl, 2019). Concerning the subject of this study, it is crucial to note that research has demonstrated social disparities in allocation to educational tracks at the lower-secondary school level (Pietsch and Stubbe, 2007;Roth and Siegert, 2016;Schindler, 2015), in individuals' likelihood of following academic versus vocational paths (Bernardi and Boado, 2014;Protsch and Solga, 2016), and in the likelihood of transitioning into higher education (Becker and Hecken, 2009b;Neugebauer, 2010;Watermann, Daniel and Maaz, 2014). ...
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In the research on life-course outcomes, there is a long-standing debate on the relative importance of institutional structure and human agency. This study examines how structure and agency influence educational trajectories in Switzerland. The Swiss education system is hierarchically differentiated but permeable, providing both standard and nonstandard pathways to higher education. Using data from a 15-year panel survey, the study assesses, first, the extent to which lower-secondary-school track attendance is associated with individuals' probability of moving into an academic or vocational program at upper-secondary level and, second, how this predicts the probability of subsequently entering a university. The study also examines how human agency influences these probabilities. Results of a structural equation model show that lower-secondary track attendance significantly predicts individuals' probability of transitioning into academic education, whereas human agency plays a minor, albeit nonnegligible, role in this regard. In turn, pursuing an academic rather than a vocational program is associated with a 47-percentage-point (or sixteen-fold) higher probability of subsequently attending university. Individuals comparatively rarely follow nonstandard pathways to university, irrespective of their level of agency. The education system channels educational trajectories, but the power of the channeling effect varies across the different junctures of the system.
... Students of different social backgrounds start school with differing levels of initial knowledge and spend their leisure time in different contexts, formed by their familial environments, neighborhoods, and peergroups, which are all influential to their learning progress and the development of assets conducive to learning in school (e.g., Ainsworth 2002;Boudon 1974;Bourdieu 1971;Bradley and Corwyn 2002;Lee and Burkam 2002;Jencks and Mayer 1990;Sirin 2005). Though school rewards and recognitions may create institutionalized mechanisms that operate in socially selective ways (e.g., Bourdieu 1985;Bourdieu and Passeron 1977;Caro et al. 2009) and teachers may be disproportionately effective based on their student composition (e.g., van Ewijk and Sleegers 2010), the empirically observed social divide in students' performance development (e.g., Cameron et al. 2015;Caro et al. 2009;Helbling et al. 2019), may also (or even primarily) be explained by extracurricular influences. In this vein, and in contrast to views of schools as drivers of social inequality, schools have also been considered "great equalizers," preventing the even greater widening of social performance gaps that perhaps would occur in the absence of schooling (Downey et al. 2004). ...
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Summer break study designs are used in educational research to disentangle school from non-school contributions to social performance gaps. The summer breaks provide a natural experimental setting that allows for the measurement of learning progress when school is not in session, which can help to capture the unfolding of social disparities in learning that are the result of non-school influences. Seasonal comparative research has a longer tradition in the U.S. than in Europe, where it is only at its beginning. As such, summer setback studies in Europe lack a common methodological framework, impairing the possibility to draw lines across studies because they differ in their inherent focus on social inequality in learning progress. This paper calls for greater consideration of the parameterization of “unconditional” or “conditional” learning progress in European seasonal comparative research. Different approaches to the modelling of learning progress answer different research questions. Based on real data and constructed examples, this paper outlines in an intuitive fashion the different dynamics in inequality that may be simultaneously present in the survey data and distinctly revealed depending on whether one or the other modeling strategy of learning progress is chosen. An awareness of the parameterization of learning progress is crucial for an accurate interpretation of the findings and their international comparison.
... Third, our data provides convincing evidence that schools effectively attenuate social disparities in learning, at least in primary school pupils. During in-person schooling, we were able to observe a rather uniform learning progress, which is a finding that also seems to generalize across much longer periods of time (e.g., Helbling et al., 2019). This is not only good news for educational policy but also might help understanding how the participation in social contexts more generally shapes individual developmental trajectories. ...
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Using data from a computer-based formative feedback system, we compare learning gains in the eight weeks of school closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland with learning gains in the eight weeks before these school closures. The school performance in mathematics and language of N = 28,685 pupils is modelled in second-order piecewise latent growth models with strict measurement invariance for the two periods under investigation. While secondary school pupils remain largely unaffected by the school closures in terms of learning gains, for primary school pupils learning slows down, and at the same time interindividual variance in learning gains increases. Distance learning arrangements seem an effective means to substitute for in-person learning, at least in an emergency situation, but not all pupils benefit to the same degree.
... Developmental trajectories of academic achievement among chinese adolescents Four different developmental trajectories of academic achievement for Chinese adolescents were identified: high-positive growth, middle-negative growth, low-stable, and lowest-stable. We did not find a low-increasing trajectory (in which adolescents initially have low achievement but display a moderate or fast growth over time), and the lack of it was inconsistent with previous studies with western samples (e.g., Hao & Woo, 2012;Helbling, Tomasik, & Moser, 2019;Hodis, Meyer, McClure, Weir, & Walkey, 2011) but consistent with previous studies with Chinese children samples (Fu et al., 2016). In the Chinese school system, particularly in middle and high school, learning difficulty increases with grade level due to increased challenges and demands in the academic curriculum, class assignments, and academic examinations. ...
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Background. In the Chinese educational system, there has been an ongoing debate between using examination- or quality-oriented education. The Chinese concept of psychological suzhi was proposed based on quality-oriented education, and a positive link between psychological suzhi and academic achievement was found by cross-sectional studies; however, studies examining their longitudinal relationship are still lacking. Aims. To examine the longitudinal trajectories of Chinese adolescents’ academic achievement and the longitudinal effects of psychological suzhi on academic achievement trajectories. Sample. Participants were 3,587 adolescents (Mage = 14.85 years, 51.1% male) in grades 7 and 10, from 10 secondary schools in southwest China. Method. A two-year (four-wave) longitudinal study was conducted and growth mixture models were used to analyze the data. Results and Conclusions. Four distinct developmental trajectories of academic achievement were identified (i.e., high-positive growth, middle-negative growth, low-stable, and lowest-stable) that were significantly predicted by different levels of psychological suzhi, particularly the dimension of cognitive quality. Cognitive quality was strongly associated with the initial academic achievement values in the high-positive growth group and linked to achievement rate (decreasing) in the middle-negative growth group. However, individuality quality and adaptability quality had a buffering effect on the rate of achievement decreasing in the middle-negative growth group. This study not only highlighted the promotive role of high cognitive quality on high levels of achievement (static) but also indicated the protective role of non-cognitive factors (i.e., individuality and adaptability) against a decreasing rate of academic achievement (dynamic).
... This is because, if such a linear growth trajectory truly occurred, the students who were advantaged early on in their development (e.g., by an effective instructional intervention) would necessarily remain advantaged over time, because the constant linearity of their learning trajectory would keep them ahead of their peers. Indeed, recent work that utilized a nonlinear decelerating growth model found that achievement gaps among high-resourced and lower resourced students did not increase over time in mathematics (Helbling, Tomasik, & Moser, 2019;Mok, McInerney, Zhu, & Or, 2015). These findings allow for the possibility that, by specifying a growth model as linear and therefore assuming that student learning rates are constant across developmental time, researchers may be overestimating the learning capacity of socially dominant children who enter schooling with higher levels of mathematics knowledge on average, or who grow faster on average earlier on. ...
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Increasing wealth provides key motivation for students to forgo earnings and struggle through exams. But, as we argue in this paper, schooling generates many experiences and affects many dimensions of skill that, in turn, affect central aspects of individuals' lives. Schooling not only affects income, but also the degree to which one enjoys work, as well as one's likelihood of being unemployed. It leads individuals to make better decisions about health, marriage, and parenting. It also improves patience, making individuals more goal-oriented and less likely to engage in risky behavior. Schooling improves trust and social interaction, and may offer substantial consumption value to some students. We discuss various mechanisms to explain how these relationships may occur independent of wealth effects and present evidence that nonpecuniary returns to schooling are at least as large as pecuniary ones. Ironically, one explanation why some early school leavers miss out on these high returns is that they lack the very same decision-making skills that more schooling would help improve.
Article
Thriving is a developmental process that is shaped by previous and current interactions within developmental contexts. We hypothesized that academic performance in the school context will positively predict thriving in young adulthood. Data of N = 2,043 students from Zurich was assessed with standardized tests in Grades 1, 3, 6, and 9. Results showed that a stronger increase in academic performance significantly predicted thriving at age 20, even after statistically controlling for various covariates. Further analyses showed that school bonding might represent a mediating link between the academic performance and thriving. We argue that although schools can be considered the most widespread and intensive “youth development program” of sorts, their role for thriving has been largely neglected in developmental science.
Article
Child and mother outcomes are reported for the Abecedarian Project, an early childhood education, pediatric healthcare, and family support program for high-risk children and their mothers. Three randomized intervention conditions for at-risk participants were compared to a control condition. Randomized control group participants received family support social services, low-cost or free pediatric care, and child nutritional supplements but no additional educational program beyond what the parents and the local school system provided. The local community was generally affluent and well educated; disadvantaged families represented a small minority whose welfare was a high social and educational priority. The educational intervention conditions were (a) preschool education for the first 5 years of life plus a supplementary kindergarten through 2nd grade Educational Support Program (Preschool plus K-2 Support), (b) preschool education (Preschool Only), and (c) K-2 Educational Support Program (K-2 Only). Child outcomes were assessed with respect to cognitive development, academic achievement, grade retention, and special education placements. For mothers, the effect of having educational childcare during the preschool period was examined with respect to maternal educational gains and employment. Positive and systematic cognitive and academic achievement differences were found for children in the preschool treatment conditions, particularly when that condition was combined with the K-2 Educational Support Program. High-quality, consistently available preschool education was also associated with greater maternal educational advancement and higher levels of employment particularly for teenage mothers. These findings have direct relevance for education and welfare policies.
Article
Peers have a paradoxical influence on each other’s educational decisions. On one hand, students are prone to conform to each other’s ambitious educational decisions and, on the other hand, are discouraged from ambitious decisions when surrounded by successful peers. In this study I examine how peers influence each other’s decision to apply to an academic track in upper-secondary education through these two functions of peer influence. The results show that students are more likely to conform to their in-group peers. However, discouraging effects are structured differently, whereby expectations about self- and peer achievement seem to be a mediating factor. This suggests that the point of reference varies with the mechanism mediating interpersonal influence together with characteristics of both peers and egos. The analysis benefits from rich population registers covering 13 full cohorts of Swedish students, facilitating controls for several sources of endogeneity, such as unobserved time-constant school and family effects.
Article
This article examines the relationship between parental networks and parental school involvement during the elementary school years. Using a large, nationally representative data set of elementary school students—the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Cohort—and contextual data from the 2000 U.S. Census, our multilevel analysis shows that higher levels of parental networks in first grade are associated with higher levels of parental school involvement in third grade after controlling for individual- and school-level characteristics. Parental networks are positively related to school involvement activities in formal organizations that consist of parents, teachers, and school staff, including participating in parent–teacher organizations and volunteering at school. Furthermore, the positive effects of parental networks on parental school involvement is stronger for families whose children attend schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods. This suggests that well-connected parental networks can serve as a buffer against school neighborhood disadvantages in encouraging parents to be actively involved in schools.
Article
Children from lower socioeconomic status (SES) families tend to perform worse in school than children from more privileged backgrounds. However, it is unclear to what extent differences in intelligence account for the academic achievement gap between high and low SES children. A large, UK representative sample of 5804 children was assessed on intelligence and academic performance at the ages 7, 9, 10, 12, 14 and 16 years. Latent growth curve analysis showed that SES was positively associated with academic performance at age 7 (i.e. intercept; Est = 0.07; CI 95% 0.06 to 0.07; β = 0.32) and gains in academic performance or growth from age 7 to 16 (i.e. slope; Est = 0.02; CI 95% 0.01 to 0.02; β = 0.44). The associations were substantially attenuated but remained significant after adding IQ (intercept: Est = 0.03; CI 95% 0.04 to 0.07; β = 0.14; slope: Est = 0.01; CI 95% 0.01 to 0.01; β = 0.28), which accounted for 40% of the variance in academic performance and growth, respectively. Although IQ was the strongest predictor of academic performance from age 7 through 16, SES was associated with an independent benefit of half a grade level on average by the end of compulsory education.
Article
In the half century since the 1966 Coleman Report, scholars have yet to develop a consensus regarding the relationship between schools and inequality. The Coleman Report suggested that schools play little role in generating achievement gaps, but social scientists have identified many ways in which schools provide better learning environments to advantaged children compared to disadvantaged children. As a result, a critical perspective that views schools as engines of inequality dominates contemporary sociology of education. However, an important body of empirical research challenges this critical view. To reconcile the field’s main ideas with this new evidence, we propose a refraction framework, a perspective on schools and inequality guided by the assumption that schools may shape inequalities along different dimensions in different ways. From this more balanced perspective, schools might indeed reproduce or exacerbate some inequalities, but they also might compensate for others—socioeconomic disparities in cognitive skills in particular. We conclude by discussing how the mostly critical perspective on schools and inequality is costly to the field of sociology of education.
Chapter
Im Beitrag werden – mit Schwerpunkt für Deutschland und die Analyse von Kontexteffekten – die international vergleichende Schulleistungsstudie PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) vorgestellt. Im Fokus stehen hierbei neben der Zielsetzung von PISA und der theoretischen Grundlage der Studie zum einen die methodische Basis der Daten und zum anderen empirische Beispiele für die Analyse von Bildungskontexten, die für den Erwerb von Kompetenzen und Bildungserfolgen als relevant angesehen werden. Schließlich werden auch Grenzen der PISA-Daten aufgezeigt, wenn es um die Effekte von sozialen Kontexten auf die Entwicklung von Wissen, Fertigkeiten und Fähigkeiten und anderen Bildungsprozessen geht.
Chapter
Bildungsaspirationen beinhalten eine wichtige Determinante unterschiedlicher Aspekte des Bildungserfolgs. Im vorliegenden Beitrag werden drei unterschiedliche Theorien zur Erklärung der Genese und Revision von Bildungsansprüchen vorgeschlagen. Bei diesen Theorien handelt es sich um das Wisconsin-Modell (WM), die Werterwartungstheorie (WET) und das Modell der Frame-Selektion (MdFS). Die ersten beiden Paradigmen gehen von einem sehr unterschiedlichen Grad an instrumenteller Rationalität bei allen Akteuren aus, dagegen geht das MdFS von Gruppenunterschieden in dieser Hinsicht aus. Während im WM die Akteure passiv durch das soziale Umfeld geprägt werden, wird die Konformität mit den Ansprüchen der Bezugsumwelt in der WET als Teilaspekt einer Nutzenmaximierungsstrategie angesehen. Im MdFS bilden die Anforderungen der sozialen Umwelt, abhängig von deren Inhalt und Konsistenz, potentiell eine Beschränkung für rationale Abwägungen. Aus den drei Theorien ergeben sich unterschiedliche Vorhersagen über das Zusammenspiel von Bezugsgruppeneffekten und dem Grad der Adaptivität von Bildungsansprüchen an die Leistungsrealität von Lernenden. In der empirischen Untersuchung werden egozentrierte Netzwerkdaten von Grundschuleltern zur Überprüfung der unterschiedlichen Prognosen über die Bestimmungsfaktoren der Aspirationsentwicklung am Ende der Grundschulzeit herangezogen. Die Ergebnisse sind mit den Vorhersagen des MdFS vereinbar.
Article
Objective: Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) is a widely used reliability index in test-retest, intrarater, and interrater reliability analyses. This article introduces the basic concept of ICC in the content of reliability analysis. Discussion for researchers: There are 10 forms of ICCs. Because each form involves distinct assumptions in their calculation and will lead to different interpretations, researchers should explicitly specify the ICC form they used in their calculation. A thorough review of the research design is needed in selecting the appropriate form of ICC to evaluate reliability. The best practice of reporting ICC should include software information, "model," "type," and "definition" selections. Discussion for readers: When coming across an article that includes ICC, readers should first check whether information about the ICC form has been reported and if an appropriate ICC form was used. Based on the 95% confident interval of the ICC estimate, values less than 0.5, between 0.5 and 0.75, between 0.75 and 0.9, and greater than 0.90 are indicative of poor, moderate, good, and excellent reliability, respectively. Conclusion: This article provides a practical guideline for clinical researchers to choose the correct form of ICC and suggests the best practice of reporting ICC parameters in scientific publications. This article also gives readers an appreciation for what to look for when coming across ICC while reading an article.
Article
Die Reproduktion herkunftsspezifischer Ungleichheiten in der Bildungsbeteiligung geschieht vorwiegend aufgrund von Leistungsdisparitäten im frühen Schulverlauf. Deren Entstehung und Entwicklung verdient deshalb besondere Aufmerksamkeit. Anhand einer Längsschnittstichprobe von 1714 Primarschülerinnen und -schülern untersuchen wir, wie sich die Deutsch- und Mathematikleistungen zwischen Schulkindern mit unterschiedlich hohem Bildungsniveau der Eltern in den letzten drei Primarschuljahren entwickeln. Unsere Ergebnisse zeigen, dass sich herkunftsbedingte Leistungsdisparitäten bis zum Übertritt in die Sekundarstufe I deutlich vergrössern. Dies zeigt sich selbst bei gleichen kognitiven Grundfähigkeiten und gleichem Vorwissen beim Schuleintritt. Somit sind nicht nur die Startchancen beim Schuleintritt sozial ungleich verteilt, sondern auch die schulischen Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten.
Article
Marsh and Parker (1984) described the big-fish-little-pond effect (BFLPE), whereby equally able students have lower academic self-concepts in high-ability schools than in low-ability schools. The present investigation, a reanalysis of the Youth in Transition data, supported the generality of the earlier findings and demonstrated new theoretical implications of the BFLPE. First, differences in the academic self-concepts of Black and White students, sometimes assumed to represent response biases, were explicable in terms of the BFLPE. Second, equally able students earned higher grades in lower ability schools. This frame-of-reference effect for grades was distinct from, but contributed to, the BFLPE for academic self-concept. Third, a longitudinal analysis demonstrated that academic self-concept had a direct effect on subsequent school performance beyond the effects of academic ability and prior school performance. About one quarter of this effect could be explained in terms of the BFLPE.
Article
The literature on neighborhood effects frequently is evaluated or interpreted in relation to the question, "Do neighborhoods matter?" We argue that this question has had a disproportionate influence on the field and does not align with the complexity of theoretical models of neighborhood effects or empirical findings that have arisen from the literature. In this article, we focus on empirical work that considers how different dimensions of individuals' residential contexts become salient in their lives, how contexts influence individuals' lives over different timeframes, how individuals are affected by social processes operating at different scales, and how residential contexts influence the lives of individuals in heterogeneous ways. In other words, we review research that examines where, when, why, and for whom do residential contexts matter. Using the large literature on neighborhoods and educational and cognitive outcomes as an example, the research we review suggests that any attempt to reduce the literature to a single answer about whether neighborhoods matter is misguided. We call for a more flexible study of context effects in which theory, measurement, and methods are more closely aligned with the specific mechanisms and social processes under study.
Article
One of the best predictors of children's educational achievement is their family's socioeconomic status (SES), but the degree to which this association is genetically mediated remains unclear. For 3000 UK-representative unrelated children we found that genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphisms could explain a third of the variance of scores on an age-16 UK national examination of educational achievement and half of the correlation between their scores and family SES. Moreover, genome-wide polygenic scores based on a previously published genome-wide association meta-analysis of total number of years in education accounted for ~3.0% variance in educational achievement and ~2.5% in family SES. This study provides the first molecular evidence for substantial genetic influence on differences in children's educational achievement and its association with family SES.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 10 March 2015; doi:10.1038/mp.2015.2.
Article
This study tests for the existence of neighborhood effects on educational attainment among some 2,500 young people who left school between 1984 and 1986 in one education authority (school district) in Scotland. It links survey data with area data from the 1981 Census of Population and uses hierarchical linear regression modeling to test for neighborhood effects and to estimate the contribution of neighborhood deprivation to any effects. After controlling for pupil ability, family background, and schooling, the authors find a significant negative association between deprivation in the home neighborhood and educational attainment. There is little evidence of additional neighborhood effects that could not be explained by our models. The findings suggest that policies to alleviate educational disadvantage cannot be focused solely on schooling, but must form part of a broader initiative to tackle social deprivation in the society at large.
Book
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Article
Two complementary approaches to developing empirical benchmarks for achievement effect sizes in educational interventions are explored. The first approach characterizes the natural developmental progress in achievement made by students from one year to the next as effect sizes. Data for seven nationally standardized achievement tests show large annual gains in the early elementary grades followed by gradually declining gains in later grades. A given intervention effect will therefore look quite different when compared to the annual progress for different grade levels. The second approach explores achievement gaps for policy-relevant subgroups of students or schools. Data from national- and district-level achievement tests show that, when represented as effect sizes, student gaps are relatively small for gender and much larger for economic disadvantage and race/ethnicity. For schools, the differences between weak schools and average schools are surprisingly modest when expressed as student-level effect sizes. A given intervention effect viewed in terms of its potential for closing one of these performance gaps will therefore look very different depending on which gap is considered.
Article
Low socioeconomic status (SES) children perform on average worse on intelligence tests than children from higher SES backgrounds, but the developmental relationship between intelligence and SES has not been adequately investigated. Here, we use latent growth curve (LGC) models to assess associations between SES and individual differences in the intelligence starting point (intercept) and in the rate and direction of change in scores (slope and quadratic term) from infancy through adolescence in 14,853 children from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS), assessed 9 times on IQ between the ages of 2 and 16 years. SES was significantly associated with intelligence growth factors: higher SES was related both to a higher starting point in infancy and to greater gains in intelligence over time. Specifically, children from low SES families scored on average 6 IQ points lower at age 2 than children from high SES backgrounds; by age 16, this difference had almost tripled. Although these key results did not vary across girls and boys, we observed gender differences in the development of intelligence in early childhood. Overall, SES was shown to be associated with individual differences in intercepts as well as slopes of intelligence. However, this finding does not warrant causal interpretations of the relationship between SES and the development of intelligence.
Article
Although a positive relationship between socio-economic status and academic achievement is well-established, how it varies with age is not. This article uses four data points from Canada's National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth (NLSCY) to examine how the academic achievement gap attributed to SES changes from childhood to adolescence (ages 7 to 15). Estimates of panel data and hierarchical linear models indicate that the gap remains fairly stable from the age of 7 to 11 years and widens at an increasing rate from the age of 11 to the age of 15 years. Theoretical arguments and policy implications surrounding this finding are discussed. ©2009 Société canadienne pour l'étude de l'éducation/Canadian Society for the Study of Education.
Article
Large epidemiological studies of almost an entire population in Scotland have found that intelligence (as measured by an IQ-type test) in childhood predicts substantial differences in adult morbidity and mortality, including deaths from cancers and cardiovascular diseases. These relations remain significant after controlling for socioeconomic variables. One possible, partial explanation of these results is that intelligence enhances individuals' care of their own health because it represents learning, reasoning, and problem-solving skills useful in preventing chronic disease and accidental injury and in adhering to complex treatment regimens.
Book
Written in an accessible style, this book facilitates a deep understanding of the Rasch model. Authors Bond and Fox review the crucial properties of the Rasch model and demonstrate its use with a wide range of examples including the measurement of educational achievement, human development, attitudes, and medical rehabilitation. A glossary and numerous illustrations further aid the reader's understanding. The authors demonstrate how to apply Rasch analysis and prepare readers to perform their own analyses and interpret the results. Updated throughout, highlights of the Second Edition include: a new CD that features an introductory version of the latest Winsteps program and the data files for the book's examples, preprogrammed to run using Winsteps;, a new chapter on invariance that highlights the parallels between physical and human science measurement;, a new appendix on analyzing data to help those new to Rasch analysis;, more explanation of the key concepts and item characteristic curves;, a new empirical example with data sets demonstrates the many facets of the Rasch model and other new examples; and an increased focus on issues related to unidimensionality, multidimensionality, and the Rasch factor analysis of residuals. Applying the Rasch Model is intended for researchers and practitioners in psychology, especially developmental psychologists, education, health care, medical rehabilitation, business, government, and those interested in measuring attitude, ability, and/or performance. The book is an excellent text for use in courses on advanced research methods, measurement, or quantitative analysis. Significant knowledge of statistics is not required. © 2007 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.
Article
In this article we study the approximately unbiased multi-level pseudo maximum likelihood (MPML) estimation method for general multi-level modeling with sampling weights. We conduct a simulation study to determine the effect various factors have on the estimation method. The factors we included in this study are scaling method, size of clusters, invariance of selection, informativeness of selection, intraclass correlation, and variability of standardized weights. The scaling method is an indicator of how the weights are normalized on each level. The invariance of the selection is an indicator of whether or not the same selection mechanism is applied across clusters. The informativeness of the selection is an indicator of how biased the selection is. We summarize our findings and recommend a multi-stage procedure based on the MPML method that can be used in practical applications.
Article
Separating elementary school students into skill-based reading groups within classrooms affects a vast majority of young children in the United States. The impact of this institutional process on students' learning has important implications for sociological perspectives on education and stratification, yet a lack of studies comparing similar grouped and nongrouped students has prevented scholars from drawing conclusions as to the salience of this type of curriculum differentiation. Drawing on data from the first- and third-grade waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, I use propensity score matching techniques to estimate the impact of low, middle, and high group placement on reading gains relative to nongrouped instruction. Findings suggest that high-grouped students learn more, and low-grouped students learn less, than comparable nongrouped students. These analyses, which significantly lessen the extent to which selection into groups may bias results, add strong evidence to the view that within-classroom skill grouping in the early elementary years promotes unequal reading gains compared to nongrouped instruction. I conclude by discussing the theoretical and policy implications of these findings.
Article
Studies of neighbourhood effects on educational attainment have generally found that such effects exist. However, two deficiencies are common in these studies: a lack of information on the mechanisms of neighbourhood effects and lack of information on multiple contexts. These deficiencies are addressed in this article by using school data to gain further knowledge of the mechanism of an observed neighbourhood effect on young people's education in Helsinki, Finland. The results show that the effect of neighbourhood's educational composition on educational choice is for a large part mediated by school's socioeconomic composition. This indicates that the neighbourhood effect operates through the school context. Schools are also independently associated with educational choice. While the neighbourhood effect is a non-linear top-end effect, the school's socioeconomic composition has a linear association with educational choice, which leads to different kinds of political implications.
Article
Neighbourhoods and schools are two contexts in which youth spend vast amounts of their time—making friends, forming opinions and attitudes, and learning the social and academic skills that help them navigate through life. In the neighbourhood effects literature, schools are theorised to be a pathway or mechanism of the neighbourhood's influence on children and youth. We tested this hypothesis using a longitudinal dataset of 9897 secondary school students. We estimated school and neighbourhood effects separately, and then considered youths’ simultaneous membership in both contexts. In the latter analysis, the associations between neighbourhood characteristics and achievement were reduced to non-significance, while the associations with the school context remained strong and significant. These results point to schools as a pathway through which the influence of the neighbourhood maybe transmitted, and underscore the need for better conceptualisations of the mutiple and interrelated contexts that youth inhabit.
Article
The idea that parental involvement has positive influence on students' academic achievement is so intuitively appealing that society in general, and educators in particular, have considered parental involvement an important ingredient for the remedy for many problems in education. The vast proportion of the literature in this area, however, is qualitative and nonempirical. Among the empirical studies that have investigated the issue quantitatively, there appear to be considerable inconsistencies. A meta-analysis was conducted to synthesize the quantitative literature about the relationship between parental involvement and students' academic achievement. The findings reveal a small to moderate, and practically meaningful, relationship between parental involvement and academic achievement. Through moderator analysis, it was revealed that parental aspiration/expectation for children's education achievement has the strongest relationship, whereas parental home supervision has the weakest relationship, with students' academic achievement. In addition, the relationship is stronger when academic achievement is represented by a global indicator (e.g., GPA) than by a subject-specific indicator (e.g., math grade). Limitations of the study are noted, and suggestions are made for future studies.
Article
Despite over 30 years of research into the effects of school composition or “mix,” there is remarkably little consensus over the nature and size of school compositional and peer effects. Developing an analytical review of international research in this area, this chapter begins by discussing conceptual and methodological problems related to theorising school compositional effects. A model is developed through which the adequacy of existing studies for capturing compositional effects can be judged. This model helps to explain why existing studies have failed to reach consensus since the modelling techniques vary and none approach the adequacy criteria articulated in the model. Qualitative research can go a long way towards illuminating the subtle processes that are likely to underlie school compositional effects. The inherent difficulties in “measuring” elements of compositional effects have left debate around the importance of school compositional effects open to political and ideological considerations, since the outcomes of key policy decisions such as school choice, effectiveness, and accountability depend on the findings.
Article
Zusammenfassung: Die vorliegende Studie befasst sich mit der Analyse von primären und sekundären Effekten der sozialen Herkunft beim Übergang in die Sekundarstufe I. Das theoretische Modell von Boudon wurde um Faktoren erweitert, die für das deutsche Bildungssystem bedeutsam sind (Noten und Übergangsempfehlung). Bildungsungleichheit entsteht durch das Zusammenwirken der sozialen Herkunft, der objektiven und bewerteten Schülerleistung, der Schullaufbahnempfehlung und des gezeigten Übergangsverhaltens. Es konnte gezeigt werden, dass die soziale Herkunft einen Effekt auf den Übergang, die Vergabe der Schullaufbahnempfehlungen, die Benotung und die objektiven Leistungen hat. Um zu untersuchen, an welchen Stellen der soziale Hintergrund auf den Übergang Einfluss nehmen kann, wurden die primären und sekundären Effekte zerlegt. Während die primären Effekte ausschließlich als indirekte Effekte wirksam werden, wirken die sekundären Effekte als indirekte und direkte Effekte. In Bezug auf die betrachteten Konsequenzen (Leistungsbewertung, Empfehlung und Übergang) wurden folgende Ergebnisse ermittelt: Primäre und sekundäre Effekte konnten für jede der drei betrachteten abhängigen Merkmale nachgewiesen werden. Bei der Leistungsbewertung war der relative Anteil des primären Effekts größer als der des sekundären. Bei der Empfehlungsvergabe waren beide Effekte gleich groß und beim Übergangsverhalten der sekundäre größer als der primäre. Damit konnte erstmals gezeigt werden, wie sich der soziale Herkunftseffekt zusammensetzt und welche relative Bedeutung primäre und sekundäre Effekte haben.