Higher parental education was associated with good grades in mathematics in children

The education level of the parent affects ability in mathematics of children much more than working memory and emotional disorders. On average, the children of people with higher education assessment in mathematics 41 percent better. In addition, an important factor for performance in this subject is socio-economic status of the family. Article published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

Poor academic performance in mathematics in childhood is associated with lower socio-economic status, the worst employment and the state of health and high risk of depression in adult life compared to people with better math skills. Therefore, scientists are interested in the parameters that affect success in this subject.

With advances in the study attributed a number of mental and cognitive performance. First, it is internalization — the tendency to experience emotions within themselves — a symptom characteristic of anxiety and depressive disorders. Internalization often occurs in children, it is associated with low academic performance.

It is logical to assume that ability in mathematics is also affected by working memory — the system for temporarily storing information for processing in the process of complex cognitive activities. Several researchers have linked working memory with the education and mathematical abilities, its called the best indicator of academic achievement compared to IQ.

Daniel Evans (Danielle Evans) and her colleagues from the University of Sussex studied the impact on math number of parameters. To do this, the researchers conducted additional analysis of the results of a Longitudinal study of parents and children in the counties of Avon (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children), long-term monitoring of 14 thousands of children born in 1991-1992, and their parents. The authors of a new study to analyze the following parameters: results of four tests in mathematics (at the age of 6-7, 10-11, 13-14 and 15-16 years), internalizing symptoms at 11 years, an emotional temperament in three years, IQ at eight years of age and working memory in 10. In addition, took into account biological gender, socio-economic status of their families, the education level of parents, and traumatic events.

Even weak differences in working memory and internalizing symptoms predicted changes in mathematics at age 11 (p < 0.001), and emotional temperament did not affect mathematical ability at this age (p = 0,066). In addition, higher scores were boys, children with a high IQ, as well as those who lived in a family with high socioeconomic status and whose parents were more educated. The last parameter was the most important: children of parents with higher education were 41 percent more successful than children whose parents only graduated from high school (p < 0.001). The effect of the remaining indicators was low — they have changed the academic performance only a few percent.

The researchers then assessed the effect of same parameters on the progress in assessments in math from 6 years to 16. Significant were those same settings, but none of them affect performance significantly in an average year, the student improves their level of 53 percent, and the studied indicators has changed this value, only a few percent.

The study did not take into account the influence of environmental conditions on cognitive ability. But scientists from China have conducted a separate study and foundthat in districts with more polluted air people worse cope with the mathematical and verbal tests.

Alice Bahareva

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