Science Achievement Gaps – Research indicates math, reading achievement in early grades also influences later science achievement
Science achievement gaps present between racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the eighth grade already exist when those children are in kindergarten, according to new research published in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.
A research team analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics on over 7,750 children from kindergarten entry to the end of eighth grade and found that kindergarten children’s basic world knowledge was the strongest predictor of their general first grade knowledge, which in turn was the strongest predictor of their third grade science achievement. Their science achievement gaps remained fairly stable from third grade through eighth grade.
Math and reading achievement also were associated with science achievement in those grades, which suggests that improving math and reading skills in lower-performing students might help improve their science achievement gaps. The report cites prior research noting that children’s kindergarten math and reading achievement is strongly predictive of their achievement in elementary school, and the achievement gaps begin very early.