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Growing up in Scotland: Changes in child cognitive ability in the pre-school years

DescriptionThis report examines whether the gap in cognitive ability between children from different social backgrounds changes between ages 3 and 5 and which factors influence improvement in cognitive ability.
ISBN
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateJune 06, 2011

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Paul Bradshaw
Prepared for the Scottish Government: Children and Families Directorate by the Scottish Centre for Social Research Suggested citation: Bradshaw, P. (2011) Growing Up in Scotland: Changes in child cognitive ability in the pre-school years, Edinburgh: Scottish Government

ISBN 978 1 78045 200 5 (Web only publication)
DPPAS 11601

This document is also available in pdf format (721k) This research report is one of four and accompanied with research findings 2/2011. There is also a technical annex related to this full report in pdf format (697k).

(GUS) Parental service use and informal networks in the early years, research findings 1/2011,
(GUS) Parenting and Children's Health, research findings 3/2011, (GUS),
Change in early childhood and the impact of significant events, research findings 4/2011


Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background
1.2 Adding to the evidence base
1.3 Research questions
1.4 Methods
1.4.1 The Growing Up in Scotland study
1.4.2 Measuring cognitive ability
1.5 Technical appendix

2 EXAMINING THE GAP IN COGNITIVE ABILITY
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Key findings
2.3 Differences in expressive vocabulary at ages 3 and 5
2.3.1 Age equivalent differences
2.3.2 Changes in the ability gap
2.4 Differences in problem solving ability at ages 3 and 5
2.4.1 Age equivalent differences
2.4.2 Changes in the ability gap
2.5 Income, education or social class?
2.6 Summary

3 FACTORS WHICH HELP OR HINDER IMPROVEMENT
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Key findings
3.3 Domains of influence on cognitive development
3.3.1 Demographic characteristics
3.3.2 Family composition
3.3.3 Parenting factors
3.3.4 Experience of childcare and pre-school
3.3.5 Child health and early development
3.3.6 Parenting support
3.3.7 Maternal health and health behaviours
3.3.8 Material and economic circumstances
3.4 Summary of single domain effects
3.5 Combined domain effects
3.5.1 Summary of combined domain effects
3.5.2 Explaining the effect of education on gaps in ability

4 DIFFERENT EFFECTS BY PARENTAL LEVEL OF EDUCATION
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Key findings
4.3 Education independent effects - to what degree?
4.3.1 Differences amongst those with higher qualifications
4.3.2 Differences amongst those with lower qualifications
4.4 Reducing the gap - are different factors important for children with lower educated and higher educated parents?

5 CONCLUSION
5.1 Differences in cognitive ability by social background characteristics
5.2 Other factors affecting change in cognitive ability
5.3 Factors and associated policy responses which may help narrow
the gap in cognitive ability

REFERENCES

APPENDIX 1: FURTHER DETAILS OF EXPLANATORY AND OUTCOME VARIABLES
Social background variables
Other variables

TECHNICAL ANNEX