Parent educational investment and children's general knowledge development

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Drawing on longitudinal data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999, this study used IRT modeling to operationalize a parental educational investment measure based upon Lareau's notion of 'concerted cultivation.' The analysis used multilevel piecewise growth models regressing children's general knowledge achievement from kindergarten through the first grade on a measure of concerted cultivation and indicators of the family context. The measure of concerted cultivation explained over 30% of the SES gradient and an additional 20-25% of the race/ethnic general knowledge gaps at kindergarten entry after controlling for SES, and was larger than the SES coefficient in magnitude. These findings (a) lend partial support to Lareau's contention that concerted cultivation explains SES learning advantages; (b) contradict the argument that net of SES, concerted cultivation is mostly unrelated to race/ethnic gaps; (c) and raises questions about the importance concerted cultivation for learning disparities after school entry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-491
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Academic achievement
  • Culture
  • Family
  • Parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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