Statistical Significance


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Statistical Significance


The article “Poverty, race, and the contexts of achievement: examining educational experience of children in the U.S. South” by Maryah Stella Fram, Julie, E. Miller-Cribs and Lee Van Horn is a 2007 publication in the Social Work journal, volume 52 number 4 from page 309-319. In this article, Fram, Miller-Cribs and Horn (2007) examine educational hardships experienced by children in U.S. South and have a special focus on socioeconomic factors among other factors that influence educational achievement among this population. This study is based on the finding that academic achievement is greatly impaired by poor socioeconomic status, which is critical in American South.


In this study, the authors sought to measure reading skills, child and family variables (such as demographics and background), and classroom variables (such as teacher characteristics and classroom social composition and school variables such as status of the school among others. Missing data was handled using multiple imputation analyses in the SAS 9.1 program whereby 10 data sets for the three variables were imputed. Fram, Miller-Cribs and Horn (2007) then conducted both bivariate (for high-poverty against high-ethic minority status of a school) and descriptive analysis for the remaining data. Multilevel models were then applied in the analyses of the how children varied in their reading scores depending on the status of the school they were attending, the classroom variables, as well as child and family variables. There were four models for multivariate analyses, all examining variability in different variables. The study revealed that attendance in high-ethnic minority schools was 38% with most of the attendants of these schools being single-parented children as well as children born during teen age of the mother. Moreover, the parents of such children had a low educational and socioeconomic status. Significant differences were noted in all the study variables between high-ethnicity and low-ethnicity minority schools. There was a high attendance of high-poverty schools (35 percent of students) with black students making a majority.

Analysis of variance in reading skills depending on the three variables showed that children composition in class led to 79% variability in reading skills, 11% of variability was due to differences in classrooms while 10% variability was due to differences in schools. Repeating kindergarten was insignificant in improving reading skills for single-parented and teenage-mothered children. Reading skills was not significantly different due to race but it was so due to gender with girls registering greater improvement. According to Model 3 analyses, there was a (negative) significant difference in ethnic minority and children who was depending on free lunch (p = -.03, SE = .01 and p = -.02, SE = .01 respectively). The significance was however lost when rural location was factored. According to Model 4, there was a significant positive relationship between longer teacher tenure and reading gains. A negative significant relationship was also recorded with time spent in child-directed activities. Low-skill readers registered a negative significant relationship with average reading gains (-.76 change in reading skills).




The conclusions of this study are appropriate since the findings of the study are firmly supported by the statistical findings. The significance level for this study was .05 and therefore most of the findings were statistically significance. For instance, reading skills were significantly affected by studying in an ethnic-minority school and the relationship is negative. With a significant level of .05, it is considered that all findings with a significance level below the set significance level are statistically significant (Field, 2009). These include having a single parent and residential choice. When taking the significance level as .001, it was evident that gender, being a kindergarten repeater, as well as reading at beginning and end of kindergarten were statistically significant (p <.001) in relation to their effect on reading skills. Having a teenage mother had a statistically significant effect on reading skills at a significance level of .01 (p < .01).


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