Social and behavioral skills and the gender gap in early educational achievement

Thomas A. DiPrete, Jennifer L. Jennings

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Though many studies have suggested that social and behavioral skills play a central role in gender stratification processes, we know little about the extent to which these skills affect gender gaps in academic achievement. Analyzing data from the Early Child Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, we demonstrate that social and behavioral skills have substantively important effects on academic outcomes from kindergarten through fifth grade. Gender differences in the acquisition of these skills, moreover, explain a considerable fraction of the gender gap in academic outcomes during early elementary school. Boys get roughly the same academic return to social and behavioral skills as their female peers, but girls begin school with more advanced social and behavioral skills and their skill advantage grows over time. While part of the effect may reflect an evaluation process that rewards students who better conform to school norms, our results imply that the acquisition of social and behavioral skills enhances learning as well. Our results call for a reconsideration of the family and school-level processes that produce gender gaps in social and behavioral skills and the advantages they confer for academic and later success.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalSocial Science Research
    Volume41
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 2012

    Fingerprint

    gender
    kindergarten
    girls' school
    academic achievement
    school
    elementary school
    reward
    gender-specific factors
    longitudinal study
    school grade
    evaluation
    learning
    student
    time

    Keywords

    • Educational achievement
    • Gender
    • Gender stratification
    • Social and behavior skills

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

    Social and behavioral skills and the gender gap in early educational achievement. / DiPrete, Thomas A.; Jennings, Jennifer L.

    In: Social Science Research, Vol. 41, No. 1, 01.2012, p. 1-15.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    DiPrete, Thomas A. ; Jennings, Jennifer L. / Social and behavioral skills and the gender gap in early educational achievement. In: Social Science Research. 2012 ; Vol. 41, No. 1. pp. 1-15.
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