A study published in Educational Researcher looks at the profile of science achievement gaps to the age of 14.
The researchers used data from the US Early Childhood Longitudinal
Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K), which followed 7,757
children from kindergarten (Year 1) to eighth grade (Year 9). In
kindergarten, the children completed a general knowledge test covering
the physical, biological, and social sciences. In the following years,
there were further assessments of science, reading, and mathematics
achievement, as well as approaches to learning and parenting quality.
Large gaps in science general knowledge were already evident when
children entered kindergarten. These gaps continued into first grade
(Year 2), third grade (Year 4), and ultimately eighth grade. Between
third and eighth grade, lower reading and mathematics achievement was
also predictive of the persistence of these science achievement gaps.
The authors argue that interventions may need to be implemented very
early in children’s development to counteract these early general
knowledge gaps. Improving reading and mathematics achievement and
behavioural self-regulation, and decreasing school racial segregation
may also contribute to reducing the science achievement gaps.
Source: Science Achievement Gaps Begin Very Early, Persist, and Are Largely Explained by Modifiable Factors (2016), Educational Researcher.