Intergenerational Family Predictors of the Black-White Achievement Gap

Jelani Mandara*, Fatima Varner, Nereira Greene, Scott Richman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The authors examined intergenerational family predictors of the Black-White achievement gap among 4,406 adolescents from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. An intergenerational model of the process by which family factors contribute to the achievement gap was also tested. The results showed that the ethnic gaps in socioeconomic status (SES) and achievement had significantly reduced over the past few generations. Moreover, measures of grandparent SES, mothers' achievement, parent SES, and a comprehensive set of reliable parenting practices explained all of the ethnic differences in achievement scores. Parenting practices such as creating a school-oriented home environment, allowing adolescents to make decisions, and not burdening them with too many chores had particularly important effects on the achievement gap. The authors conclude that adjusting for these differences would eliminate the ethnic achievement gap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)867-878
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • achievement gap
  • intergenerational
  • parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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