Neighborhood characteristics, parental practices and children's math achievement in elementary school

Emily Greenman, Katerina Bodovski, Katherine Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


This paper investigates the relationships among neighborhood characteristics, education-related parental practices, and children's academic achievement during a critical but under-studied stage of children's educational trajectories - the elementary school years. Using a large, nationally representative database of American elementary school students - the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) - and contextual data from the 2000 US Census, we examine parental practices and neighborhood characteristics at the beginning of children's school careers (grades K-1) and their associations with math achievement through the end of the 5th grade. Findings: Net of family-level characteristics, higher levels of early education-oriented parental practices were associated with higher mathematics achievement at the end of 5th grade, while neighborhood disadvantage was associated with lower 5th grade math achievement. Families residing in high poverty, high unemployment, low-education neighborhoods employed fewer education-oriented practices with their kindergarten-first grade children, but the positive effect of such parental practices on children's mathematics achievement was stronger for children who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1434-1444
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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