• 1 Faculty of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Sarawak, Malaysia
  • 2 Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, USA
Educ Res Eval, 2015;21(1):40-59.
PMID: 25750582 DOI: 10.1080/13803611.2015.1010545


Socioeconomic status and gender are important demographic variables that strongly relate to academic achievement. This study examined the early literacy skills differences between 4 sociodemographic groups, namely, boys ineligible for free or reduced-price lunch (FRL), girls ineligible for FRL, boys eligible for FRL, and girls eligible for FRL. Data on kindergarteners (N = 462) were analysed using multiple-group confirmatory factory analysis. Early literacy skill differences between boys and girls are more nuanced than previously reported; subsidy status and gender interact. Both boys and girls from high-poverty households performed significantly lower than the girls from low-poverty households in alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, and spelling. There were gender gaps, with a female advantage, among children from high-poverty households in alphabet knowledge and spelling and among children from low-poverty households in alphabet knowledge. These results highlight the importance of employing methodologically sound techniques to ascertain group differences in componential early literacy skills.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.