EPSC Lab Presentation: "The Importance of Oral Language as a Mediator in a Quantitative Cultural Capital Model of Kindergarten Achievement"
PhD student Qing Zhang and Professor George Farkas are presenting at the April 9th meeting of the School of Education Educational Policy Lab, from 12:00-1:00 pm, in Education 2024. The title of their presentation is "The Importance of Oral Language as a Mediator in a Quantitative Cultural Capital Model of Kindergarten Achievement."
We extended a quantitative cultural capital model of the relationship between social class background and the teacher’s judgment of the student’s kindergarten achievement by adding a measure of the child’s oral language proficiency as a mediator. This was measured by the oral language screener administered to the full study sample in the ECLS-K: 2011.We are thus able to separate the educational achievement roles of the willful parenting activities referred to as concerted cultivation (Lareau 2003) from the largely involuntary speech and language patterns enacted by parents from different social classes. We found that SES is strongly related to both parenting activities and oral language (vocabulary and receptive comprehension) skill and that both variables are significantly and positively related to the teacher’s judgment of student academic work habits and academic performance measured by test scores in reading and mathematics. Oral language is more strongly related to these outcomes than are parenting activities so that oral language plays a more important role than parenting activities in mediating the relationship between social class background and kindergarten academic performance. When all these variables are combined to predict the teacher’s judgment of the student’s academic performance, the student’s actual reading and math performance (measured by test scores available only to researchers) is the primary determinant, followed by the teacher’s judgment of the student’s academic work habits. The effects of parenting activities and oral language on the teacher’s judgment of the student’s performance are important, but largely because they affect actual student performance and work habits. We conclude that, from birth to kindergarten entry, oral language skill is more important than parenting activities in determining the greater academic success of students from higher, compared to lower SES families. After controlling SES, similar results are found for race/ethnic differences in schooling outcomes.
Additional Spring Lab Meetings
4/23 Sabrina Solanski
5/7 Emily Penner
5/21 Qing Zhang (1st half); Remy Pages (2nd half)
6/11 Melina Pinales & George Farkas