Maternal education and children's academic achievement during middle childhood

Dev Psychol. 2007 Nov;43(6):1497-1512. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.43.6.1497.


Despite much evidence that links mothers' educational attainment to children's academic outcomes, studies have not established whether increases in mothers' education will improve their children's academic achievement. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth on children between the ages of 6 and 12, this study examined whether increases in mothers' educational attainment are associated with changes in children's academic achievement and the quality of their home environments. Results suggest that children of young mothers with low levels of education perform better on tests of academic skills and have higher quality home environments when their mothers complete additional schooling, whereas increased maternal education does not predict improvements in the achievement or home environments of children with older and more highly educated mothers. The estimated effects of additional maternal schooling for children of these younger mothers appear to be more pronounced for children's reading than math skills.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Educational Status*
  • Environment
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers*
  • Reading
  • Schools
  • Universities