EDUCATION: News Weekly
Intact family the single most critical factor in academic success
, June 9, 2007
Being reared in an intact family helps children the most to achieve the best, a Melbourne study has revealed.What is the single most critical factor in the academic achievement of children: socioeconomic status, family structure, or the resources of home and school?
Judging from a study involving more than 6,000 schools in 32 countries by Gary N. Marks at the University of Melbourne, being reared in an intact family helps children the most to achieve their best.
Marks looked at data on more than 172,000 15-year-olds tracked in the 2000 version of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
He found that students who were living with both parents had consistently higher reading and maths scores than their peers from other living arrangements.
Students living with single parents had significantly lower reading scores in 18 countries and significantly lower maths scores in 21 countries.
The negative educational effects of living with single parents were strongest in the United States, which Marks noted as having the largest proportion of 15-year-olds in that category.- from Gary N. Marks, "Family size, family type, and student achievement: cross-national differences and the role of socioeconomic and school factors," Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 37 (Winter 2006), pp.1-24.