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Title: Early Warning: The Persistence of Cognitive Inequalities at the Start of Schooling
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Winship, Scott
Early Warning: The Persistence of Cognitive Inequalities at the Start of Schooling
M.A. Thesis, Harvard University, 2003
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79, NLSY79
Publisher: UMI - University Microfilms, Bell and Howell Information and Learning
Keyword(s): Academic Development; Armed Forces Qualifications Test (AFQT); Grade Retention/Repeat Grade; Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Math); Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Reading); Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT); School Entry/Readiness

Many parents, policymakers, researchers, and other participants in educational policy debates are concerned with inequality in scholastic outcomes and with achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged children. The federal No Child Left Behind Act will also focus attention on these inequalities. This paper explores the associations between measured child achievement levels at the start of schooling and scholastic outcomes in adolescence. In so doing, it also considers the extent to which earlier inequalities account for unequal outcomes roughly eight years later. Using the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data, I first reproduce the finding from an earlier literature in psychology that scores of young children on tests of vocabulary, mathematics, and reading are strongly correlated with adolescent test scores. I also show that high test scores in early childhood are associated with other positive scholastic outcomes in adolescence. There is evidence that these associations vary somewhat for different categories of children, but in nearly all cases, the associations are not much diminished. Finally, I show that where significant adolescent cognitive inequalities exist between categories of children, half or more of the gap in group averages is predictable from cognitive inequalities at the start of schooling. The findings imply a fair amount of mobility within cognitive skill distributions, but also indicate that observers concerned with scholastic inequalities should focus on early childhood education and compensatory or universal measures that attenuate the links between initial and later inequalities. Half or more of adolescent inequality in scholastic achievement (as measured by test scores) can be predicted by test scores at the start of schooling. And there is as much test-score inequality between siblings within the same family as between children in different families.
Bibliography Citation
Winship, Scott. Early Warning: The Persistence of Cognitive Inequalities at the Start of Schooling. M.A. Thesis, Harvard University, 2003.