Parents with degrees give their children significant advantage in math

children of parents witha degree are almost a yr of schooling ahead in maths by the age 11 than ps whose parents ‘ve just gcses, a new study by the university of sussx has discovered.

gr8r parental education tis strongest predictor of maths attainment and faster future growth for children movin into 2ndary school even after adjusting for their intelligence (iq), research by university of sussx ψ-chologists published tody by the royal society reveals.

the study also showed that:

  • boys achieve significantly higher grades in maths at age 11 but this gap did not grow through 2ndary school. academics believe the gap at 11 ‘d be explained by girls’ increasing maths anxiety and decreasing enjoyment of the subject at this age.
  • statistically significant but very weak evidence that pupils with higher emotional symptoms in early childhood had loer maths attainment when they were older.
  • the study’s authors recommend that strategies focusing on improving parental education ‘d be a very effective method of increasing attainment in children.

danielle evans, researcher in achievement in mathematics atta university of sussx, said:

“our study shows that increased maths growth was significantly predicted by higher iq, higher socioeconomic status and gr8r parental education, suggesting that children with gr8r intelligence and higher socioeconomic status progress at a quicker rate across the transition to 2ndary education compared with their ps. while this finding aint unexpected, it demonstrates the importance of parents within their child’s education and suggests that having higher-educated parents may potentially ‘buffer’ the neg impacts of the transition to 2ndary education on children’s attainment.”

dr darya garsina, senior lecturer in ψ-chology atta university of sussx, said:

“recent campaigns launched by the bbc in collaboration w'da national numeracy charity focusing on promoting adult education and maths training is a step inna rite direction but much + work is needed to overcome the extent of poor numeracy inna uk na neg effects associated with underachievement in maths.”

the study examined working memory and internalizing symptoms as predictors of children’s maths attainment trajectories across the transition to 2ndary education through analysis of the avon longitudinal study of parents and children (alspac) involving almost 9,000 children born tween 1 apr 1991 and 31 dec 1992.

the study focuses onna transition from primary to 2ndary education cause of the reprted declines in academic achievement and maths specifically during the move from primary to 2ndary schools — tis reprted that + than a third of children do not show any progress in maths during the transition yr.

the study’s authors believe higher-educated parents support the transition to 2ndary education in ≠ ways that lessen the neg impact of the transition on maths attainment including their own + attitudes towards education, involvement with school activities or helping with homework in a supportive environment.

the authors had hypothesised that emotional temperament in early childhood ‘d be a very early indicator of poor maths attainment l8r on in adolescence but l8r ∴ that twas not possible to predict l8r problems with underattainment in maths using emotional difficulties early on in childhood.

the study’s authors say additional research is needed to further unc’oer the relationship of memory dur'na task (working memory) and internalizing symptoms s'as anxiety on attainment, using + time-appropriate measures.

andy field, professor of quantitative methods atta university of sussx, said:

“the current state of maths attainment and performance of children and adults inna uk is pticularly alarming with almost ½ of all working-age adults inna uk having the maths skills expected of primary-school children. poor maths attainment in childhood persist well into adulthood and can be associated with several neg outcomes s'as poorer employment prospects, gr8r likelihood of homelessness, poorer health outcomes and mental health difficulties s'as depression. the ability to identify predictors of maths attainment as early as possible in childhood ‘d ‘ve life-changing consequences.”

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materials provided by university of sussx. original written by neil vowles. note: content maybe edited for style and length.

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