Socioeconomic status and achievement in math and reading in kindergarten through elementary school: The role of social capital

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Christine E. F. Delgado - Committee Chair


Achievement in the early school years has long been an issue of great concern in the United States. Over the years, much attention has been paid to the role of family background in predicting school success. Children from higher socioeconomic status (SES) families perform better in school, on average, than their lower SES peers. More recently, the role of social capital in predicting achievement has been investigated. This study employs the Early Child Longitudinal Study -- Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) and utilizes Latent Growth Curve modeling to investigate the effects of specific SES variables (household income, maternal education, paternal education, maternal occupation, and paternal occupation) and home social capital variables (parental involvement, parental expectations, two parents in the home, number of siblings in the home, extended family in the home, whether mother worked between child's birth and entry to Kindergarten, and changes in the home) on achievement in reading and math from Kindergarten through elementary school. Interactions between SES and social capital variables are also investigated.Results indicate that most of the SES variables and several social capital variables predicted achievement in math and reading. Most social capital variables also moderated the effects of specific SES variables on achievement in math and reading.


Education, Sociology of; Education, Elementary; Education, Educational Psychology; Psychology, Developmental

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