HOME
SEARCH
FAQs
TESTIMONIALS
 
The Longitudinal Effects of Residential Mobility on the Academic Achievement of Urban Elementary and Middle School Students

Issue/Topic: Students--Mobility
Author(s): Voight, Adam; Nation, Maury; Shinn, Marybeth
Publication: Educational Researcher
Published On: 2012

Background:
What happens outside of school matters to a young person's educational development. The home is arguably the most influential setting in young people's development, and the recent upward trend in residential mobility has made the effort to foster a positive, stable home environment more challenging.

Purpose:
To explore the effect of changing residences on young people's academic achievement.

Findings/Results:

Residential moves in the early elementary years have a negative effect on math and reading achievement in third grade and a negative effect on the trajectory of reading scores thereafter.

  • For every move during the period between kindergarten and second grade, there was an associated drop in test scores.
Math:
  • Year-by-year moves were more highly associated with math than reading achievement. For math achievement, changing residences during the testing years evidenced a consistently significant negative association. For math, a 1-year-lagged association of mobility with test scores, however, was insignificant.

Reading:

  • Conversely, there is no simultaneous (same year) effect found on reading scores, but mobility leaves a lasting negative effect on reading test scores.
  • Residential moves during the early years negatively relate to reading achievement through elementary and middle school. This enduring effect was not evidenced for math achievement.


Policy Implications/Recommendations:
  • Early elementary mobility is a source of inequality in academic achievement through primary school.
  • The foundation of a child's reading competency may be particularly affected by early disruptions. If children are able to establish a foundation in reading during early elementary school without disruptions, they may be insulated from the effects of subsequent moves.
  • It is possible that residential mobility is a mediating mechanism that explains how  more general family disruptions affect achievement, and this consideration could be taken into account in future research studies. 
  • Interventions that focus more on socioemotional aspects of mobility -- for example, adjustment counseling and tutoring for mobile students and providing networking opportunities for the parents of mobile children -- may be effective for residential movers who do not change schools in addition to school changers.
  • Reducing residential mobility is in the interest of urban elementary and middle school students. Policies that make it easier for low-income families to stay in their homes  -- including affordable housing and efforts to enforce fair housing laws and combat predatory lending -- could be helpful in reducing mobility.

Study Link: http://edr.sagepub.com/content/41/9/385.abstract


Research Design:
Quantitative

Population/Participants/Subjects:
Students from 11 middle schools in a large urban district in Tennessee.

Year data is from:
2003-2009

Setting:
District

Data Collection and Analysis:
Analysis of school administrative data from 11 middle schools in a large urban district in Tennessee.

Disclaimer:

Reference in this Web site to any specific commercial products, processes or services, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Education Commission of the States. Please contact Kathy Christie at 303-299-3613 or kchristie@ecs.org for further information regarding the information posting standards and user policies of the Education Commission of the States.