Impact of Parental Involvement on the Gap in Kindergarten Math Scores between Children of Immigrants and Children of Natives

Claudia Lahaie, McGill University

Children of immigrants are the fastest growing segment of the young child population in the United States (Hernandez, 1999). This population is quite diverse and is overall performing less well than their native counterparts. (Magnuson et al., 2006; Han, 2005; Crosnoe, 2005). Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey - Kindergarten Cohort, this paper analyzes whether differences in parental involvement can explain part of the gap in math scores between children of immigrants and children of natives in the fall and the spring of kindergarten. Controlling for parental involvement reduces the gap for children of Mexican parents and increases the advantage of children of Chinese parents. From the fall to the spring of kindergarten, the negative impact of speaking a non-English language at home decreases and even more so with the inclusion of parental involvement variables. Finally, going to kindergarten all day instead of half day increases the math scores.

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Presented in Session 55: Immigration and Child Development