The middle schooling process: influences on science and mathematics achievement from the longitudinal study of American youth.

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Abstract

The purpose of this longitudinal study was to develop and test a model of middle school science and mathematics achievement with a national probability sample of 3,116 seventh-grade public school students. Eighth-grade achievement was viewed as a function of readiness attributes on entry into seventh grade and intervening parent, peer, self, and classroom affective and behavioral measures. Data were collected from students and parents over three time periods in seventh and eighth grade. Results of a revised structural model showed that prior achievement in science and math was a strong mediator of effects in the process of schooling. Grades in sixth grade, parental expectations, parent educational attainment, and motivation had moderately strong indirect effects on eighth-grade achievements. Also notable was the positive direct influence of perceptions of classroom context on science and math achievement growth and the negative direct influence of sex (in favor of girls) on science achievement growth. Cross-validation on a split-half sample did not disconfirm the model. It was concluded that while prior achievement had a dominant influence in the schooling process, other variables including parental expectations, motivation, and classroom context do contribute to the schooling process and can be a focal point for improving school success. These and other factors, though helpful, may be most effective well before the middle school years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-158
Number of pages26
JournalAdolescence
Volume26
Issue number101
StatePublished - 1991

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