Socioeconomic Status, Math Achievement, and Head Start Attendance
Research has shown that socioeconomic status impacts student achievement consistently over time and there have been several suggestions in mediating this effect. Most notably may be preschool attendance, and especially publicly funded programs like Head Start. The nationwide program aims to serve primarily low-income youth, but has been reported to experience major fadeout in the early years of elementary school. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: Kindergarten Cohort 1998-9, this study exhibits the expected and persistent positive effects of SES on student math achievement, as well as the effectiveness of Head Start in mediating this effect and equalizing the opportunity for educational achievement in mathematics. Implications of these findings are discussed in the context of Head Start implementation across the country, and the general need for universal preschool to minimize the effects of SES on long-term academic achievement.
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