How do caregivers affect children’s academic performance? Evidence from Primary Caregivers’ Educational Attainment and Children’s Performance on Standardized Assessments
Wilson, Sofia Santillan
Grenier, Amandine E.
Wicha, Nicole, Y.Y.
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Children's performance on standardized testing are affected by a variety of external factors, such as access to resources, school environment, or primary caregiver’s education. Educational inequalities, likewise, have a negative impact on the quality of education and access to resources, and impact student performance. Student outcomes and performance, hence, are multidimensional in that there are many factors that play a role in student success. For instance, previous research has shown that mother’s educational attainment has an impact on their children’s academic performance. By understanding the effects of primary caregivers’ educational attainment on student achievement, policies can be created to promote equity in the education system. The goal of the present study is to understand the impacts of primary caregivers’ educational attainment and language history on children’s standardized assessment performance. We analyzed data from a large-scale study that collected demographic information (age, language background, socioeconomic status, primary caregivers’ education), standardized assessment scores (math fluency, oral comprehension, working memory, phonological awareness, and vocabulary size), and performance (accuracy, response times) on a simple multiplication task. The study included a total of 176 children, and we hypothesized that children with highly educated primary caregivers were more likely to perform higher on academic assessments and the math task. Results showed that children with fathers as primary caregivers performed better on our measure of math fluency compared to children with mothers as primary caregivers. Additionally, the primary caregiver's educational attainment showed significance in performance on math fluency, oral comprehension, and math task accuracy in the “some college” and “graduate degree” category. Together, these findings suggest that primary caregivers’ educational attainment can affect children’s performance on standardized assessments, though future research should explore a broader population sample.