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By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The governing board of the National Assessment of Educational Progress has underway new research to gauge students’ socioeconomic status. Up until now, a student’s eligibility for the federally funded school lunch program was the indicator of poverty.

Researchers from education, economics, statistics, human development and sociology have been working to decide on other factors that are indicators. Parents’ income and resources such as Internet access, books at home, parents’ educational attainment and occupational status – all linked to education success – will help in pointing to socioeconomic status, as will family stability, poverty level in neighborhoods, linguistic isolation and availability of parks and museums. Local rates of illness, crime and student perceptions of parental expectations will also be considered.

Data from this broad-based project will be presented at the annual conference of the American Education Research Association in April.

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