Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10497/23413
Title: 
Authors: 
Subjects: 
Learning-related behaviors
Mathematics achievement
Executive function skills
Self-regulation
Early childhood
Socioeconomic disadvantage
Issue Date: 
2021
Citation: 
Ng, E. L., Bull, R., & Khng, K. H. (2021). Accounting for the SES-math achievement gap at school entry: Unique mediation paths via executive functioning and behavioral self-regulation. Frontiers in Education, 6, Article 703112. https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2021.703112
Journal: 
Frontiers in Education
Abstract: 
Childhood socioeconomic status (SES) is strongly predictive of math achievement in early childhood and beyond. In this study, we aimed to further our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the SES-achievement gap by examining whether two aspects of self-regulation—executive functions (EF) and behavioral self-regulation (BSR)—mediate between SES and math achievement. Using data from a longitudinal study in Singapore (n = 1,257, 49% males), we examined the predictive link from SES to math achievement at entry to formal education (age 7), and the role of EF (child-assessed) and BSR (child-assessed and teacher-rated) as mediators of the SES-math achievement relationship. After accounting for children’s non-verbal reasoning and prior math achievement, EF and BSR (both child-assessed) emerged as significant partial mediators between SES and math. A key contribution of our study is in demonstrating that both components of self-regulation play a small role in explaining SES disparities in math achievement. Our findings further suggest that a balanced focus on enhancing EF and BSR skills of children from low-SES families may help to attenuate the SES-math achievement gap. More generally, our research contributes new insights to the ongoing debate about the theoretical distinctions between EF and BSR.
URI: 
ISSN: 
2504-284X (online)
DOI: 
Project number: 
OER 09/14 RB
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
File Permission: 
Open
File Availability: 
With file
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