In accord with the research on the effects ofNote: Emphasis added above.
socioeconomic status on school achievement,
eligibility for free lunch accounted for the
greatest amount of variance in achievement on
both NJ ASK 5 Math and LAL scores.
Beginning with Coleman (1966), SES was
identified as the greatest predictor of student
achievement. In a meta-analysis conducted
with research dating from 1990-2000, Sirin
(2005) found that socioeconomic status
remains, at minimum, a moderate to strong
predictor of achievement.
This fact should be the ultimate basis of
any education reform. Policymakers who
would like to believe that external mandates
such as better qualified teachers, merit pay,
charter schools, performance pay, smaller
schools, vouchers, etc. are stronger predictors
of achievement must revisit the research. The
difference in test scores between SES groups is
due to SES itself. Mandates targeted at poverty
itself will likely have more of an influence on
achievement than any other variable(s).