Theses Doctoral

Differential Effects of Family Context on Noncognitive Ability and School Performance during Adolescence

Jodl, Jacqueline Marie

Recent research suggests that the female advantage in educational attainment is driven in part by the differential effect of family background characteristics on the noncognitive skills of males relative to females. Building on this research, this study provides new evidence that links family characteristics and gender differences in noncognitive ability and school performance. Data are drawn from the NLSY79 Child and Young Adult Surveys. Multilevel modeling is used to examine how family context relates to gender differences in adolescent externalizing behavior, and how family context relates to gender differences in externalizing behavior and high school grades. Results indicate a strong relationship between externalizing behavior and grades that is not explained by the female advantage in grades. Results also indicate that males are differentially affected by family context and suggest that the pathways through which family structure, noncognitive ability, and school performance operate are different for boys relative to girls. A primary conclusion is that boys’ externalizing behavior is more dependent upon family background characteristics. Findings suggest the need to address both the school and family environments by formulating policies that promote the development of noncognitive skills in school as well as those that remedy family disadvantage in the home.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Education Policy
Thesis Advisors
Ready, Douglas D.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 11, 2015