Published Online: October 13, 2015
Published in Print: October 14, 2015, as Student Mobility

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Student Mobility

"Does School Mobility Place Elementary School Children at Risk for Lower Math Achievement?"

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Changing schools often in the earliest grades puts students at a significant risk of poor math performance and critical-thinking skills in upper elementary school, according to a new study in the journal Developmental Psychology.

New York University researchers tracked 381 low-income, predominantly ethnic-minority students participating in the Chicago School Readiness Project from the time they were in Head Start preschools through 4th grade. They found that only 54 children, or 14 percent, remained in the same school throughout this time, while 86 percent, or 327 students, changed schools at least once. Forty children switched schools three or more times during the study.

The more often students changed schools in their early years, the worse they performed on both 4th grade standardized mathematics tests and 3rd-grade teacher observations of the students' critical-thinking skills, even after controlling for the students' initial cognitive skills.

Vol. 35, Issue 08, Page 5

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