Journal Article: The Achievement Gap in Social Studies and Science Starts Early: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study


Education, Elementary education/Follow up, Social sciences/Achievements, Student, Science/Achievements, Student, Student achievements/Primary grades


Chapin, June R.


2006, November/December


Data were extracted from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS), a national sample of more than 20,000 kindergartners and first-graders. Fifty-one social studies and science test items were combined into a General Knowledge Test. This test was individually administered to each child with no reading required. General Knowledge Test scores were analyzed at two points in time: fall of kindergarten and spring of first grade. Wide racial-ethnic and very small gender differences were observed. Special attention was given to the fact that black children scored significantly lower on the General Knowledge Test in the first two years of school as compared with other racial-ethnic groups. The Spearman correlation coefficient was .80 between scores in kindergarten and the end of the first grade, showing little change for low-, middle-, or high-achieving children. Starting from kindergarten, social studies and science achievement gaps are a serious problem. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.


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