# Children’s Cognitive Attainments in Year 6 Compared to Year

This section presents the main results of multilevel contextualised models that have been conducted to compare the net effects of child, family factors and Early years home learning characteristics on cognitive outcomes in Year 2 compared to Year 6. The change of net impact of different influencing factors reveals whether certain groups of children that showed lower

attainment at the end of Year 2 have fallen further behind or begun to catch up by the end of Year 6. It also explores whether certain groups of children have further improved compared to the average in terms of their cognitive attainments during KS2.

The same set of predictors was tested as potential influencing factors on outcomes in English and Mathematics at Year 2 and Year 6. Comparisons were made on the basis of the effect sizes of the individual predictors. In the following description of the results rather than using absolute effect sizes, differences in effect sizes between Year 2 and Year 6 (Δ ES) are presented to indicate the extent of change in the impact of different background factors on cognitive attainment. The Δ ES are presented without an algebraic sign, but the direction of change is explained in the text.

### Child Measures

The gender gap in English is the same in both years with girls showing higher attainment than boys, a difference which has increased by Year 6 (Δ ES=0.09). In Mathematics the difference is the reverse with boys out performing girls in Year 6 (Δ ES=0.04).

Figure 3.1: Gender Effect Sizes Year 2 and Year 6: English

Gender Effect Sizes Year 2 and Year 6: Reading

0.2 0.29 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4 Girls Girls E ff ec t S iz e Year 2 Year 6 Comparison Group: Boys

Figure 3.2: Gender Effect Sizes Year 2 and Year 6: Mathematics

Gender Effect Sizes Year 2 and Year 6: Mathematics

0.15 0.19 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 Boys E ff ec t S iz e Year 2 Year 6 Comparison Group: Girls

In both years children with very low birth weight showed lower cognitive outcomes than children who had normal birth weight: for both English (Δ ES=0.22) and Mathematics Δ ES=0.12) the gap has increased by the end of Year 6.

With regard to mother tongue the effect of „needing EAL support‟ has decreased for English (Δ ES=0.13). Children who need EAL support are still showing significantly lower attainment in English but the gap to those children who do not need EAL support has become smaller. In the case of Mathematics there‟s no change between the two time points, and children in need of EAL support are still doing significantly worse than those who do not need EAL support.

For ethnicity, we find that Bangladeshi children have made the greatest advance compared to White UK children by Year 6 (Δ ES=0.25) in English. Other ethnic groups have, compared to White UK children, stayed at the same level in English. For Mathematics Indian children at Year 2 had higher scores than White UK children, and by Year 6 this difference had increased (i.e. they

Given the relatively small sizes of some ethnic groups in the EPPE 3-11 sample the results should be interpreted with caution, this is particularly so with respect to Bangladeshi children, where only some of the EPPE 3-11 sample are responsible for the increase in attainment. Nonetheless they suggest that changes in the relative strength of differences between pupil sub-groups are worth further exploration.

### Family Measures

It was found that the highest qualification level of the mother was a strong predictor of children‟s cognitive outcomes at Year 6 and at earlier time points. Investigating the change of strength of effect size between Year 2 and Year 6, the findings illustrate that the influence of mother‟s qualification level has become even stronger especially for English. For both years the

comparison group was „mothers with no qualification‟. Differences in effect sizes (Δ ES) between Year 2 and Year 6 for attainment in English lie in the range between Δ ES=0.01 (16 academic) and Δ ES=0.18 (degree). Only the groups of ‟18 academic‟ (Δ ES=0.05) and „Other professional‟ have lost some of their advantage compared to no qualification (Δ ES=0.05).

For Mathematics the results are less ambiguous: all groups show an increase in attainment compared to „no qualification‟ with effect size differences (Δ ES) between 0.02 and 0.30, for ‟18 academic‟ and „higher degree‟ respectively. The influence of the qualification level of the father has also shown an increase for the most qualified: degree (Δ ES=0.06); higher degree (Δ ES= 0.14); and professional (Δ ES=0.23).

Children whose family were categorised as belonging to the highest SES group (professional non manual), had a lead over children of lower SES families in cognitive outcomes at earlier time points, and this lead persists into Year 6, however, there is evidence that other SES groups have also made gains. In the case of English other professional show the greatest improvement (Δ ES=0.14), and only unskilled show a deterioration (Δ ES=0.19), see Figure 3.3.

Figure 3.3: SES Effect Sizes Year 2 and Year 6 English

SES Effect Sizes Year 2 and Year 6: English

-0.17 -0.14 -0.34 -0.37 -0.05 -0.20 -0.03 -0.06 -0.34 -0.26 -0.24 -0.25 -0.60 -0.40 -0.20 0.00 0.20 0.40 0.60 0.80 Other Professional non-manual

Skilled non-manual Skilled manual Semi-skilled manual Unskilled manual Never Worked

SES E ff ec t S iz e Year 2 Year 6 Comparison Group: Professional Non- manual

However, in Mathematics the only group to show gains over the period compared to the highest SES group is other professional show the greatest improvement (Δ ES=0.05), all the other groups show a widening of the gap that was already present by Year 2, see Figure 3.4.

Figure 3.4: SES Effect Sizes Year 2 and Year 6 Mathematics

SES Effect Sizes Year 2 and Year 6: Mathematics

-1.00 -0.80 -0.60 -0.40 -0.20 0.00 0.20 0.40 0.60 0.80 Other Professional non-manual

Skilled non-manual Skilled manual Semi-skilled manual Unskilled manual Never Worked

SES E ff ec t S iz e Year 2 Year 6 Comparison Group: Professional Non- manual

Looking at eligibility for free school meals (FSM), the findings illustrate that the impact has become stronger in Year 6 for attainment in English (Δ ES=0.08) but slightly attenuated in Mathematics (Δ ES=0.04).

### Early Years Home Learning Environment (HLE) Measures

The quality of the Early years HLE was found to be a very important factor for academic outcomes at the end of Year 2, however, while still a strong predictor by the end of Year 6, in the case of English, its influence had decreased: controlling for all the other background variables and compared to the lowest level of HLE the next lowest level Δ ES=0.12; compared to the same group the highest level of HLE Δ ES=0.09, see Figure 3.5.

Figure 3.5: Early years HLE Effect Sizes Year 2 and Year 6 English

Early Years HLE Effect Sizes Year 2 and Year 6: English

0.26 0.38 0.52 0.78 0.15 0.20 0.34 0.69 0.00 0.10 0.20 0.30 0.40 0.50 0.60 0.70 0.80 0.90

HLE 14-19 HLE 20-24 HLE 25-32 HLE 33-44

HLE E ff ec t S iz e Year 2 Year 6

Comparison Group: Lowest Early Years HLE 0-13

Mathematics, the same pattern was evident: controlling for all the other background variables and compared to the lowest level of HLE the next lowest level Δ ES=0.14; compared to the same group the highest level of HLE Δ ES=0.09, see Figure 3.6.

Figure 3.6: Early years HLE Effect Sizes Year 2 and Year 6 Mathematics

Figures 3.7 and 3.8 summarize the extent of any change in effects. Taken together it appears that, for English more than Mathematics, the attainment gap related to some of the key

background measures has further increased.

Figure 3.7: The impact of child, family factors and HLE on English at Year 6 compared to Year 2