Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Terra McKinnish


This study employs both a linear probability model and a logit model to assess the relationship between a child’s past achievement record in mathematics and parental perceptions of mathematical ability. Differences in the effect of past achievement on perceptions of ability as a consequence of a child’s gender are also explored. Data for this study comes from the United States Department of Education Early Childhood Longitudinal Study and constitutes a large, recent, and nationally representative sample of U.S. children. Results indicate that past achievement has a positive and significant, though relatively modest, effect on parental perceptions of ability. However, this relationship is not robust to the effect of a child’s gender on parental expectations. Parents of girls are, on average, 38 percentage points less likely to hold high expectations of mathematical ability than parents of boys. Consequently, for an identical improvement in mathematical achievement, parents of girls are found to be 7 percent less likely to hold high expectations of mathematical ability, as compared to boys.

Included in

Economics Commons