Re: [xmca] birth order and academic achievement

From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at>
Date: Tue Feb 05 2008 - 19:26:56 PST

  When my mother wrote a book about population a few years ago, she thought that academic achievement was ALWAYS in inverse correlation to birth order (and thus to family size) because of limited resources for education. She used this as a way of explaining the demographic shift to lower birth rates but longer lives in industrialized countries (and also unindustrialized countries that encourage or allow female education). Her argument was that where children represent intellectual capital rather than just able bodies, people have fewer in order to concentrate their educational resources.
  Stein, D. (1995) People Who Count. London: Earthscan.
  But you probably know that in many places in Asia, birth order is NOT inversely correlated with academic achievement in a family, apparently because older siblings help with homework.Surprisingly, this remains true in first generation Asian American familes, although in second and third generation immigrants the usual inverse correlation appears:
Indochinese refugee families and academic achievement . Scientific American, 266, 36-42 . Chen, C., & Uttal, D.H. (1988).
  Evidence that Mike is right about the evolutionary overlap of phylogenesis and socio-cultural ontogenesis. Not only play but also work and even schoolwork is creates a naturally occurring zone of proximal development in the family. Rogoff (2006) points out that the idea of herding children into single age cohorts and having one teacher to rule them all is a modern one (and not particularly good or efficient one unless you view it from a Panopticist point of view).
  David Kellogg
  Seoul National University of Education

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