Gabriel Nagy is now at the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN) at the University of Kiel, Germany.
Cumulative Advantages and the Emergence of Social and Ethnic Inequality: Matthew Effects in Reading and Mathematics Development Within Elementary Schools?
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc
Volume 83, Issue 4, pages 1347–1367, July/August 2012
How to Cite
Baumert, J., Nagy, G. and Lehmann, R. (2012), Cumulative Advantages and the Emergence of Social and Ethnic Inequality: Matthew Effects in Reading and Mathematics Development Within Elementary Schools?. Child Development, 83: 1347–1367. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01779.x
We thank Olaf Köller for his comments and advice and Susannah Goss for translation and language editing.
- Issue published online: 13 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012
This article examines the development of social and ethnic disparities in academic achievement in elementary schooling. It investigated whether reading and mathematics development in 136 mixed-ability classes shows path-dependent processes of cumulative advantage (Matthew effects) from Grades 4 to 6 (Grade 4 mean age = 10.62, SD = 0.57) resulting in growing inequality. Status-dependent processes of cumulative advantage, their interaction with path-dependent processes, and consequences for the degree of social and ethnic inequality are examined. Two complementary methods for analyzing multilevel data are used: growth curve and quasi-simplex models. No evidence for a Matthew effect was found in either domain. A compensation effect emerged for reading, to the benefit of ethnic minorities. A fan-spread effect was found for mathematics, partly attributable to status-dependent processes of cumulative advantage.