In this brief, authors Suzanne Graham and Lauren Provost examine whether attending a school in a rural, urban, or suburban community is related to children’s mathematics achievement in kindergarten, and whether increases in mathematics achievement between kindergarten and eighth grade differ for children in rural, urban, and suburban schools. They also consider whether achievement differs by region of the country and for children of different racial and ethnic groups. Finally, they discuss the impact of a family’s socioeconomic status, and the ways in which place and socioeconomic status together affect both early mathematics achievement levels and change over time. They report that rural and urban kindergarten students have slightly lower average mathematics achievement levels than their suburban peers. In addition, the average increase in mathematics achievement from kindergarten to eighth grade for rural and urban children is smaller than the increase for suburban children, resulting in a widening achievement gap over time.

Publication Date



National Issue Brief No. 52


Durham, N.H. : Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2012. The Carsey Institute. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.