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Author: Marks, Gary N.
Resulting in 4 citations.
1. Marks, Gary N.
Cognitive Ability Has Powerful, Widespread and Robust Effects on Social Stratification: Evidence from the 1979 and 1997 US National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth
Intelligence 94 (September-October 2022): 101686.
Also: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289622000678
Cohort(s): NLSY79, NLSY97
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): Cognitive Ability; Socioeconomic Background; Test Scores/Test theory/IRT

Few issues in the social sciences are as controversial as the role of cognitive ability for educational and subsequent socioeconomic attainments. There are a variety of arguments raised to dismiss, discount or discredit the role of cognitive ability: socioeconomic background is the dominant influence; if cognitive ability appears important, that is only because important predictors have been omitted; the relative importance of socioeconomic background and cognitive ability cannot be ascertained; and cognitive ability is simply a function of socioeconomic background and, for post-education socioeconomic attainments, education. This study analyses the effects of cognitive ability and socioeconomic background on a chronological sequence of social stratification outcomes - school grades, SAT and ACT scores, educational and occupational attainment, income and wealth - in data from the 1979 and 1997 National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth. The coefficients for cognitive ability decline marginally with the addition of socioeconomic background measures, including family-of-origin income averaged over several years, and wealth. In contrast, socioeconomic background coefficients decline substantially with the addition of cognitive ability. Net of educational attainment, cognitive ability has sizable effects on occupational attainment and income. Net of socioeconomic background, education and occupation, a one-standard-deviation difference in ability corresponds to a sizable 43% difference in positive wealth at around age 35 in the older cohort and a 25% increase in the younger cohort. Therefore, contrary to dominant narratives, cognitive ability is important to a range of social stratification outcomes, and its effects cannot be attributed to socioeconomic background or educational attainment.
Bibliography Citation
Marks, Gary N. "Cognitive Ability Has Powerful, Widespread and Robust Effects on Social Stratification: Evidence from the 1979 and 1997 US National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth." Intelligence 94 (September-October 2022): 101686.
2. Marks, Gary N.
Has Cognitive Ability Become More Important for Education and the Labor Market? A Comparison of the Project Talent and 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Cohorts
Journal of Intelligence 11,8 (21 August 2023): 169.
Also: https://www.mdpi.com/2079-3200/11/8/169
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)
Keyword(s): Achievement; Cognitive Ability; Educational Attainment; Educational Outcomes; Grade Point Average (GPA)/Grades; Income; Labor Market Outcomes; Occupational Attainment; Socioeconomic Background; Socioeconomic Status (SES)

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Modernization and meritocratic theories contend that with modernization, socioeconomic background (SES) becomes less important for educational and socioeconomic attainments, while cognitive ability becomes more important. However, the evidence is mixed. This study investigates if the effects of SES and cognitive ability on educational and labor market outcomes have changed in the US by comparing two longitudinal cohort studies: the 1960 Project Talent and the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. For all outcomes-grades-at-school, educational and occupational attainment, and income-cognitive ability clearly has stronger effects than a composite and broad measure of SES. The effects of cognitive ability for grades-at-school and income are notably stronger in the more recent cohort, whereas its effects on educational and occupational attainment are similar. SES effects, net of ability, for educational and occupational attainment are only moderate and for school grades and income are very small (β < 0.10). However, for each outcome SES effects are stronger in the more recent NLSY79 cohort. This is attributed to ability being a stronger influence on the educational and socioeconomic attainments of NLSY79 parents compared to Project Talent parents. These analyses suggest that in the US, cognitive ability has long been an important, and SES a much weaker, influence on educational and subsequent socioeconomic outcomes.
Bibliography Citation
Marks, Gary N. "Has Cognitive Ability Become More Important for Education and the Labor Market? A Comparison of the Project Talent and 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Cohorts." Journal of Intelligence 11,8 (21 August 2023): 169.
3. Marks, Gary N.
O'Connell, Michael
No Evidence for Cumulating Socioeconomic Advantage. Ability Explains Increasing SES Effects with Age on Children's Domain Test Scores
Intelligence 88 (September-October 2021): 101582.
Also: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289621000660
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79, NLSY79
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): Armed Forces Qualifications Test (AFQT); Cognitive Ability; Digit Span (also see Memory for Digit Span - WISC); Intergenerational Patterns/Transmission; Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Math); Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Reading); Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT); Socioeconomic Background; Test Scores/Test theory/IRT

Studies that investigate the effects of socioeconomic background (SES) on student achievement tend to find stronger SES effects with age, although there is much inconsistency between studies. There is also a large academic literature on cumulative advantage arguing that SES inequalities increase as children age, a type of Matthew Effect. This study analysing data from the children of NLSY79 mothers investigates the relationship of SES by children's age for two cognitive domains (Peabody Picture Vocabulary test and digit span memory) and three achievement domains (reading comprehension, reading recognition and math). There are small increases in the SES-test score correlations for several domains, but there are more substantial increases in the test score correlations with mother's ability and prior ability. Regression analyses found linear increases in SES effects for all domains except digit memory. However, when considering mother's ability, the substantially reduced SES effects did not increase with children's age. Much of the effects of SES on children's domain scores are accounted for by mother's ability. The effects of prior ability also increase with age and SES effects are small. Therefore, there is no evidence for cumulative socioeconomic advantage for these domains. Generally, increases in SES effects on children's cognitive development and student achievement are likely to be spurious because of the importance of parents' abilities and their transmission from parents to children.
Bibliography Citation
Marks, Gary N. and Michael O'Connell. "No Evidence for Cumulating Socioeconomic Advantage. Ability Explains Increasing SES Effects with Age on Children's Domain Test Scores." Intelligence 88 (September-October 2021): 101582.
4. Marks, Gary N.
O'Connell, Michael
The Importance of Parental Ability for Cognitive Ability and Student Achievement: Implications for Social Stratification Theory and Practice
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility published online (11 January 2023): 100762.
Also: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0276562423000069
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79, NLSY79
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): Child Development; Cognitive Ability; Home Environment; Home Observation for Measurement of Environment (HOME); Intergenerational Patterns/Transmission; Mothers, Education; Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Reading); Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT); Socioeconomic Status (SES)

Socioeconomic status (SES) is considered a powerful influence on children's cognitive development and student achievement. This model has generated an enormous literature on the nature of, explanations for, and policy implications arising from SES inequalities in early childhood cognitive outcomes and student achievement. An alternative model focuses on the associations between SES and parental ability, the parent-child transmission of ability, and the association between children's ability and their test scores. This study analyses two ability and three achievement measures, with composite and multiple SES measures and a commonly used indicator of the home environment (HOME) in children aged from 3 to 15. The associations between SES and children's test scores are only partially accounted for by the home environment, which itself has only small to moderate associations with test scores, independent of SES. Adding mother's cognitive ability substantially reduces the coefficients for the composite SES measure by between 50 and 60%, and for mother's education by between 56 and 87%. The contemporaneous effects of SES and the home environment are small or very small. Sizable percentages of the variance in the five outcome measures are attributable to genetics ranging from 38% for the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) to 77% for reading recognition. The contributions of the shared environment ranged from 14% for reading recognition to 41% for the PPVT. Therefore, genetics is important, and the non-trivial contributions of the common environment are more likely to reflect school and neighborhood factors rather than SES and the home environment.
Bibliography Citation
Marks, Gary N. and Michael O'Connell. "The Importance of Parental Ability for Cognitive Ability and Student Achievement: Implications for Social Stratification Theory and Practice." Research in Social Stratification and Mobility published online (11 January 2023): 100762.