Kirby, Sheila Nataraj Williamson, Stephanie. Grissmer, David W. Family characteristics included in the analysis were income, family size, parental education levels, age of the mother at the child's birth, labor-force participation of the mother, and single-parent families. The analysis estimates effects of family changes on achievement scores of a national sample of students aged 14 to 17 in to and using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth of and the National Education Longitudinal Survey of Using test scores as the sole measure of the effects of changes in the family provides no evidence of a deteriorating family environment for youth in compared to the same age group in This study does not support the view that the schools of the s and s have deteriorated in significant ways with respect to the schools of the s and s in their instruction, and it suggests that schools have made significant progress in decreasing educational inequalities for minorities.
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Eighteen tables and 44 figures illustrate the discussion. Contains 82 references. American Educational Research Journal 32 4 , , Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 21 1 , , British Journal of Sociology of Education 16 3 , , Handbook of complementary methods in education research, , Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 22 1 , , Economics of Education Review 31 2 , , Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 30 4 , , American Journal of Education 3 , , Articles 1—20 Show more.
Help Privacy Terms. The effects of stratification in secondary schools: Synthesis of survey and ethnographic research A Gamoran, M Berends Review of Educational Research 57 4 , , The child then lived with a single parent, usually the mother. Parents of children in the third group also divorced after the child was in kindergarten 94 percent of them had done so by the time the child was in fifth grade , but the parent they lived with then remarried.
Most of these children subsequently lived in a birth mother-stepfather family. During kindergarten, the three groups of children were similar in terms of the economic and educational resources of their parents. By the time they were in the eighth grade, children in the Divorced Single Parent group had significantly lower family incomes than those in the other two groups, and a larger minority of them were living below the official poverty level.
Children in the Remarried Parent group had family incomes that were higher than in the Single Parent group, and not significantly different from the Parents Stay Married group. During kindergarten, the three groups of children were similar with respect to their conduct in school. According to their teachers, they exhibited an above-average approach to learning tasks, paying attention well, showing eagerness to learn, and persisting in the face of challenges. Children in all three groups were less likely than the average child to be argumentative or to get into fights with other students.
They were also less apt than average to appear unhappy or worried, or to withdraw from group activities.
Student Achievement and the Changing American Family | RAND
The three groups did not differ significantly from one another on these positive or negative aspects of classroom behavior. Differences in classroom behavior emerged as the children experienced family transitions. By the time they were in fifth grade, students in the Divorced Single Parent and Remarried Parent groups exhibited less positive approaches to learning tasks than students whose parents stayed married. The comparisons are statistically adjusted for differences across groups in student age and gender, family income and poverty status, parent education level, and racial and ethnic composition.
The fifth-graders from the divorced groups also showed more sad, worried, and withdrawn behavior in class than did students whose parents remained married. These comparisons are also adjusted for demographic and socioeconomic disparities across groups.
By the time the children became teenagers and reached the eighth grade, the classroom conduct problems of some of them were serious enough to lead to disciplinary action by their schools. One in four students in the Remarried Parent group had received out-of-school suspensions for classroom misconduct. The same was true for one in five students in the Divorced Single Parent group, but fewer than one in ten students in the Parents Stay Married group. After adjustments for differences across groups in student age and gender, family income and poverty status, parent education level, and racial and ethnic composition, students in the Remarried group were three times as likely to have been suspended as their counterparts in the Stay Married group, while those in the Single Parent group were twice as likely.
See Figure 3.
Student Achievement and the Changing American Family
Both the divorced groups were significantly different from the consistently married group, but the apparent difference between the Remarried and Single Parent groups was not statistically reliable. Compared to teenagers in the Parents Stay Married group, adolescents in the Remarried and Single Parent groups were more apt to seem unhappy and be bothered by fears and worries, according to their parents. Higher percentile scores indicate more negative symptoms. These comparisons are adjusted for the same socioeconomic and demographic factors listed above.
Teens in remarried and single-parent families were also more likely than those in married-parent families to exhibit distractible, hyperactive, and impulsive behavior.
See the right side of Figure 4. Both the latter groups showed significantly more problem behavior than the married group, but the two divorced groups did not differ significantly from one another. Again, these comparisons are adjusted for the factors listed previously. Interestingly, eighth-grade students in the three groups showed a different pattern of disparities with respect to the marks they received in school.
Those in both the Stay Married and Single Parent groups had above-average grades.
Students in the Remarried group were below average. While not failing, they received significantly lower grades.
In sum, both children in stable single-parent families and those in stable stepfamilies evidenced more emotional, behavior, and learning problems following the divorce, or the divorce and remarriage, of their parents. They did not evidence such problems in kindergarten, prior to the divorce. The single-parent families clearly experienced a decline in their financial circumstances following divorce. Yet this decline did not prevent children from getting good grades in eighth grade, comparable to those of students from stable married-parent families.
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On the other hand, the teens from single-parent families showed more symptoms of anxiety and depression at home, as well as more distractible and impulsive behavior.