Essays on Educational Inequality
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CitationLynch, Kathleen. 2018. Essays on Educational Inequality. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractThe achievement gap between high- and low-income children in the United States widened considerably in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Seasonal comparison research suggests that this gap widens primarily during summer vacation: While high- and low-income children learn at similar rates during the school year, high-income children learn more during the summer.
The widening income achievement gap may have been driven in part by increasingly divergent summer experiences of high- and low-income children, as in recent years, high-income parents have increased their investments in their children’s cognitive development. However, we have no evidence on how high- and low-income children’s summer learning and activities have changed in recent decades. In Study #1, I examine how kindergarten children’s summer learning and enrichment activity participation changed between 1998 and 2010.
Second, while the growth of academic achievement gaps during summer vacation is a widely documented problem, little research has examined how socioeconomic gaps in children’s social-emotional and executive function skills change over the summer. In Study #2, I address these questions.
Thirdly, our understanding of effective policies to ameliorate low-income children’s summer learning loss is limited. In Study #3, I conduct a randomized experiment of a home-based summer mathematics program aimed at improving low-income children’s summer home mathematics engagement and reducing summer learning loss. Taken together, these three studies inform our understanding of how children’s out-of-school environment contributes to educational inequality.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42063092