Poverty, which affects a growing number of American students, begins its negative impact on learning as early as the beginning of kindergarten, according to a National Center for Education Statistics report released Thursday.
Teachers reported that kindergarten students from affluent households in the 2010-2011 school year were more likely to have positive approaches to learning than those whose families live below the poverty line, according to the center's annual report, called The Condition of Education 2015. A positive approach to learning includes paying attention in class, keeping belongings organized and enthusiasm for learning.
Female students, students who were older at the start of the school year, students who came from two-parent households, and students whose family income was more than twice the poverty threshold were more likely to have positive approaches to learning, according to teachers. Black students, male students and students whose parents did not graduate high school tended to have poorer approaches to learning. Students who demonstrated positive approaches to learning in kindergarten were more likely to have top scores in first grade.
"Research suggests that living in poverty during early childhood is associated with lower than average academic performance that begins in kindergarten and extends through elementary and high school," the report says. "Living in poverty during early childhood is also associated with lower than average rates of school completion."