An Investigation of the Relations Between School Concentrations of Student Risk Factors and Student Educational Well-Being

Published in:
Educational Researcher
January/February 2014
vol. 43 no. 1

John W. Fantuzzo, University of Pennsylvania
Whitney A. LeBoeuf, University of Pennsylvania
Heather L. Rouse, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


This study investigated the unique relations between school concentrations of student risk factors and measures of reading, mathematics, and attendance. It used an integrated administrative data system to create a combined data set of risks (i.e., birth risks, teen mother, low maternal education, homelessness, maltreatment, and lead exposure) for an entire cohort of third-grade students in a large urban school district. At the school level, high concentrations of children with low maternal education, inadequate prenatal care, homelessness, and maltreatment were most significantly detrimental for student educational well-being. When concentrations of risks at the school level were considered simultaneously with race and poverty, the concentration of poverty was no longer significantly related to targeted educational well-being indicators. For reading achievement and attendance, concentrations of both poverty and race were not significant. Implications for school accountability and community collaborations are discussed.

Read the full article