It pays to be wealthier

A new review from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation concludes that wealth affects children’s outcomes. The authors analysed studies which separated the effect of money from other factors (eg, levels of parental education or parenting approaches) to isolate whether money was a direct cause of differences in outcomes. A total of 34 studies met the inclusion criteria.

The review concluded that while a parent’s level of education, attitude towards bringing up children, and other parental factors also have a bearing, having more money directly improves the development and level of achievement of children.

The authors found that money in early childhood makes the most difference in cognitive outcomes, while in later childhood and adolescence it makes more difference in social and behavioural outcomes.

Source: Does Money Affect Children’s Outcomes? (2013), Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Can educational attainment be raised by changing parents’ and children’s attitudes?

Changing three attitudes (aspirations, locus of control, and valuing school) does not affect educational attainment. That is one of the findings of a review by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which examined whether educational attainment can be raised by focusing interventions on changing the attitudes of parents and children.

The study evaluated evidence from more than 60 research papers, of which almost 30 were evaluations of specific interventions. These interventions covered the following areas: parent involvement, extra-curricular activities, mentoring, volunteering, peer education, and interventions with a primary focus on changing attitudes.

The review looked for evidence of a chain of impact from changing a particular set of attitudes to a rise in attainment. These attitudes were the aspirations to do well at school and to aim for advanced education, the sense that one’s own actions can change one’s life, and the giving of value to schooling and school results, referred to as aspirations, locus of control, and valuing school. The evidence from this evaluation supports a shift in emphasis from “raising aspirations” to “keeping aspirations on track”.

Source: Can changing aspirations and attitudes impact on educational attainment? (2012), Joseph Rowntree Foundation