The science gap starts early


Before their very first day of kindergarten, white and affluent children already know more about science than children of other and children who are poor. And for most of those children, this gap does not get better with more schooling. A new study shows that what a child knows about science in kindergarten can strongly predict how he or she scores on an 8th grade science test.

Researchers have long been concerned about achievement gaps in math and reading, but there’s been less attention paid to children’s scientific knowledge. The U.S. Department of Education commissioned researchers from Penn State and UC-Berkeley to figure out why minorities and poor children are falling behind in the sciences.

Paul Morgan, Penn State professor and lead author, joins Stephen Smith on the podcast this week.