"Concerted cultivation" and unequal achievement in elementary school

Katerina Bodovski, George Farkas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


We used ECLS-K data for White first graders in 1999 to quantitatively test Lareau's [Lareau, Annette, 2003. Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life. University of California Press, Berkeley] theory of the role played by parental concerted cultivation as a mediator of the positive effect of parental SES on children's school achievement. We measured concerted cultivation using a scale of 29 items, each of which was a parental response to one of the following: perceptions of parental responsibilities towards their child, leisure time activities scheduled for the child, parental relationships with the child's school, and the number of children's books at home. We also included measures of parental educational expectations, the teacher's judgment of the student's school-related effort and organization, and socio-demographic control variables. We used two distinct measures of achievement-reading test scores, and the teacher's judgment of the student's language and literacy skills. In support of Lareau's theory, we found that parental SES is positively and very strongly associated with concerted cultivation. We also found that concerted cultivation is positively associated with both test scores and the teacher's judgment of student language and literacy skills, and explains a portion of the effect of parental SES on these achievement measures. However, the portion attributable to concerted cultivation is modest in size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)903-919
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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