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Will Your Kid Be Rich? Just Look at Their 2nd Grade Test Scores

Update Date: May 08, 2013 03:22 PM EDT
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Will your kid strike it rich? Scientists say parents might be able to find out their children's future salary just by looking at their kid's math and reading test scores at age seven.

A new study published in the journal Psychological Science reveals that math and reading ability at age seven could predict socioeconomic status several decades later. Furthermore, researchers say these childhood abilities may be better predictors of socioeconomic status in adulthood than intelligence, education and socioeconomic status in childhood.

In light of the ongoing debates about the impact education standards have on children's lives, researchers Stuart Ritchie and Timothy Bates of the University of Edinburgh wanted to research whether early math and reading skill might have effects that go beyond the classroom.

"We wanted to test whether being better at math or reading in childhood would be linked with a rise through the social ranks: a better job, better housing, and higher income as an adult," researchers explain.

The latest study included data from over 17,000 people in England, Scotland and Wales over a span of give decades from when they were born in 1958 to present day.

The findings revealed that childhood reading and math skills really do count. The study revealed that participants' reading and math abilities at age seven were able to predict their social class a full 35 years later.

Researchers found that people who had higher reading and math skills as children ended up having high incomes, better housing and better jobs in adulthood.

The study data suggest that going up one reading level at age 7 was associated with a £5,000 ($7,780) increase in income at age 43.

Researchers said the findings held true even after they took other common factors such as socioeconomic status and intelligence in childhood into account.

"These findings imply that basic childhood skills, independent of how smart you are, how long you stay in school, or the social class you started off in, will be important throughout your life," researchers said in a news release.

Researchers say that genes may partly explain these long-term associations.

"Genes underlie many of the differences among children on all the variables we've looked at here," they note. "The genetically-controlled study using twins that we're conducting now should allow us to separate out genetic and environmental effects."

Researcher hope that the findings will help parents and educators understand the extent to which environmental interventions might strengthen the links they've identified in the latest twin study.

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