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Poverty Negatively Effects Academmic Achievement

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Poverty Negatively Effects Academic Achievement

The epidemic of poverty amongst students has been shown to consistently have a negative impact on student’s academic opportunities and achievements. Sadly poverty affects a large amount of students found in the world today and to make matters worse poverty has the power to effect student’s progress even when it strikes in the most indirect of ways.

Poverty is affecting a significantly large amount of students worldwide and even though the United States is the richest nation on earth, poverty is currently having a powerfully negative impact; furthermore the numbers of those affected here are growing ominously. Author Ellen S. Amatea’s article states that in the United States alone, national data has revealed that in 2004 more than thirteen million children were living in poverty compared to the national median. This is an increase of 12.8 percent from the number of children reported to be living in poverty in 2000. Given careful consideration this gives you a bit of insight as to how large of a problem poverty truly is and the impact it has on the increasing numbers of students living and suffering in it.

Now to further proceed on this topic and understand how poverty is impacting student’s academic achievements and what negative academic signs these low-income student’s show compared to that of students coming from higher-income homes, Catherine Gewertz’s article mentions a recent study by Civic Enterprises LLC and Jack Kent Foundation that was conducted on approximately 3.4 million K-12 children that came from homes like this that were of low-income but scored in the top quartile on

national academic tests. This study concluded that these lower-income students would start school with both weaker skills and were more likely to fall behind in their academic

achievements over their years in school than their peers that come from higher-income families.

In raw number for instance the study showed that more than 70 percent of the 1st graders who score in the top quartile are students coming from higher income families, again higher-income meaning above the national median, according to the U.S Census Bureau. This report also showed that 44 percent of high-achieving low-income children fall out of the top quartile in reading between the 1st and 5th grade, compared to the 31 percent of high-achievers who come from high-income families. This concludes that 13 percent more high-achieving low-income children fall out of the top quartile early on in school than that of the high-achievers who are from high-income families. This study concluded one more bit of troubling but relevant news that must be added. Students coming from lower-income families were also found to be more likely to drop out of high school or not graduate on time than students from higher income homes. Likewise Professor of education Linda B. Gambrell mentioned in her article that high-achieving lower-income students drop out of high school or do not graduate on time at a rate twice that of their higher income peers. It doesn’t stop there though. Poverty continues to affect these students further into their educational careers, into college and even graduate school. These lower-income students were found much less likely to attend selective colleges or to even graduate from college. This study just goes to show the sad reality of

the kind of power we have allowed money to have. This report does an effective job at giving some insight to the multitude of students that are highly capable but are falling

behind academically because of the mere dynamics associated with coming from a low-income home.

To further prove that the correlation between a student’s academic achievements and income does exist, an article by Kevin Bushweller mentions a study that was actually conducted over families living in poverty that had an income increase of $1,000 a year and then the children’s test scores were studied to see if there were any improvements after the yearly income increase. This study was conducted by researchers Gordon B. Dahl and Lance Lochner for the Cambridge, Mass. Based National Bureau of Economic Research. The data that was used was from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. They used this data to track both the reading and math progress of children who were living in poverty and then had the income increase. What they found was that both math and reading test scores resulted in higher scores after the $1000 a year income increase. Specifically math test scores were increased by 2.1 percent and reading test scores by 3.6 percent of a standard deviation. With the very straight forward nature of this study and it’s clearly stated results, it would be hard to deny that the presence of a higher income increases academic performance and visa-versa.

Student’s academic achievements in the United States specifically have been shown to be affected by their wealth or poverty more than in most other developed nations, according to the results of the 2006 Programs for International Students

assessment, or PISA. This study was explained in great depth in an article by Sean Cavanagh. Fifteen year olds in 57 different countries were tested in this study and 5,611

of the participants were U.S students. The study resulted in American students ranking far behind the majority of all participating developed nations in both science and mathematics. This finding is relevant to understanding the correlation between poverty and academic achievement because the results of this test also concluded that 18 percent of the variation in American’s science scores were related to the student’s socioeconomic circumstances. This proportion of 18 percent was significantly higher than the average which was about 14 percent among industrialized countries, but even more startling was that the socioeconomic variation



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