Using a large sample from a longitudinal national Chinese survey, an article recently published in Learning and Instruction investigated how socioeconomic status (SES) and the academic expectation of the primary caregivers predicted students’ attainment in mathematics.
The study used data from China Family Panel Studies, a longitudinal survey launched in 2010 and conducted every two years in 162 counties in China. In total, 1,407 adolescents were examined with data collected in 2010, 2012, and 2014, years in which the cohort grew from aged 10-15 to aged 14-19. In these years, students took three mathematics tests, the results of which were analyzed with their SES at the baseline and their primary caregivers’ academic expectations. It was found that:
- Both SES and primary caregivers’ academic expectation exerted positive effects on the mathematics attainment of the students in the study.
- Higher academic expectation from primary caregivers at ages 10-15 supported students to make more progress in the two subsequent mathematics tests.
- Regarding students from higher and lower SES families, higher academic expectations lessened the differences between their mathematics attainment.
The authors concluded that the findings confirmed the importance of SES in Chinese students’ mathematics learning and suggested that primary caregivers’ academic expectation could play a short-term mitigating role.
Source: Zha, M., & Hall, J. (2019). Understanding the progress in mathematics of Chinese adolescents: Significant impacts from the socioeconomic status and the academic expectations of primary caregivers. Learning and Instruction, 64, 101224.