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2014 - Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting Words: 256 words || 
1. Urquhart, William. "Educational Inequality and Early Childhood Ability in School" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Marriott Downtown Waterfront, Portland, Oregon, Mar 27, 2014 <Not Available>. 2019-10-16 <>
Publication Type: Research-in-progress presentation
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: A central goal of education research in sociology is explaining inequality in schooling. Past research emphasizes teacher effectiveness and cultural qualities, institutionalized disadvantage in the school system, and community and individual demographics in explaining how schools have not served all students equally. Recent studies show early childhood ability predicts later school success between groups, such as verbal ability before kindergarten explaining gaps in overall reading scores between the US and Canada throughout schooling (Merry 2013), and pre-school test scores explaining most of the social class inequalities in later placement into special education programs (Hibel, Farkas, and Morgan 2010). Experiences of children before they ever set foot in school may explain greater inequality in achievement than experiences while in school. Linking established research on social inequality in education to studies on early childhood ability, I suggest that socio-economic status, race, gender, and family educational background predict differences in pre-curricular kindergarten ability, which then persist to reinforce inequality between social groups throughout schooling. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, I explore differences in academic ability between social groups at school point of entry, how it is mediated by parental education level, and predict inequality in later educational outcomes. Initial findings suggest mother’s education predicts initial kindergarten language scores, particularly for boys, and that mother’s education varies greatly by socio-economic status and race. Ongoing analyses will explore how mother’s education level predicts school entry assessment scores across income and race, and its cumulative effect explaining later inequality through fifth grade.

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