School mobility and achievement: A meta-analysis

Majida Mehana, Arthur J. Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the effects of school mobility on reading and math achievement in the elementary grades (kindergarten to sixth grade) using meta-analysis for studies dated between 1975 and 1994. Mobility was defined as any change in schools. The sample sizes of the 26 studies examined ranged from 62 to 15 000. The statistics were converted into the effect size d. The individual effect sizes were almost all negative except in cases where the sample consisted of military personnel's dependents. The composite effect size -0.25 for reading and -0.22 for math indicated that the average achievement level of mobile students exceeded that of only 40% of the non-mobile students. This is equivalent to a 3-4 month performance disadvantage in achievement. The major predictors of variation in effect sizes were frequency of mobility, socioeconomic status, and grade. Implications for practice and research are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-119
Number of pages27
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of this article was supported in part by grants from the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education (No. R306F960055) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (No. R01HD34294).


  • Childhood risk
  • Elementary school intervention
  • Longitudinal research
  • Math achievement
  • Meta analysis
  • Poverty
  • Reading achievement
  • School mobility


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