Psihologija 2009 Volume 42, Issue 3, Pages: 273-288
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Socioeconomic and cultural factors of low scholastic achievement of Roma children

Biro Mikloš, Smederevac Snežana, Tovilović Snežana

This study investigated environmental influences on scholastic achievement of first-grade elementary school students. A total of 149 (average age 81 months) first-grade children were classified in three groups. The first group comprised of 52 Roma children. Two other groups consisted of 48 non-Roma children classified as children belonging to an average socioeconomic status (SES) group and 49 non-Roma children classified as children belonging to a below-average SES group. All 52 Roma children belonged to a below-average SES group. Children's intellectual abilities were assessed by Test of School Maturity; their scholastic achievement was assessed by teachers, while data on SES and family's educational climate were obtained through a semi structured interview with their parents. Intellectual abilities - strongly influenced by family's SES and family's educational climate - were most predictive of scholastic achievement. Our structural model suggests that family's educational climate, defined by unfavorable educational stimulation and low parents' ambition concerning education of their children, moderates effects of low SES on inferior scholastic achievement. This model may be especially relevant for Roma children, since Roma children are most affected by the lack of adequate educational climate within their families.

Keywords: Roma children, socioeconomic status, intelligence, scholastic achievement

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