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Compensatory education is provided to help disadvantaged students to overcome any cognitive and social deficits due to their environment. This is acheived by offering supplementary programs or services designed to help children at risk of cognitive impairment and low educational archievement reach their full potential[1][2]

Children at risk

Children growing up poor have lower academic outcomes than their well-off peers. They are more likely to experience learning disabilities and developmental delays.[3] Poor children score between 6 and 13 points lower on various standardized tests of IQ, verbal ability, and achievement.[4]Poverty also has a negative impact on high-school graduation[5] and college attendance.[6] Children raised by a single parent, children who have more than two siblings, children by teenaged parents and children raised in ghetto neighbourhoods are also at risk of low academical achievement.[7]

How to help these children

Numerous programs have been created in order to help children and youth at risk reach their full potential. Among the American programs of compensary education are Head Start, the Chicago Child-Parent Center Program, High/Scope, Abecedarian Early Intervention Project, SMART (Start Making a Reader Today), the Milwaukee Project and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. In Germany and Great Britain Early Excellence Centres are widely discussed programs of compensatory education. Not all of that programs have been proven to be effective. However scientist were able to identify social programms that work.[8]Among these are the High/Scope Perry Preschool Project[9][10][11], the Abecedarian Project[12][13][14][15][16] and SMART[17][18]


Jensenism is the belief that an individual's IQ is largely due to heredity, including racial heritage.[19] Arthur Jensen hold the opinion that compensatory education does not work.[20] In their controversial book The Bell Curve, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray (author) put forth the same opinion. The book has been critisized by many scientists.

See also


  1. Katy Independent School district: Compensatory Education
  2. Garbner, Howard L. (1988): Milwaukee Project: Preventing Mental Retardation in Children at Risk
  3. FPG Snapshot; No. 42, April 2007 - Poverty and Early Childhood Intervention. [1]
  4. The Future of Children, Children and Poverty Vol. 7, No. 2 – Summer/Fall 1997 [2]
  5. Duncan, G.J., Yeung, W., Brooks-Gunn, J., and Smith, J.R. How much does childhood poverty affect the life chances of children? American Sociological Review, in press.
  6. FPG Snapshot; No. 42, April 2007 - Poverty and Early Childhood Intervention. [3]
  7. Hans Weiß: Frühförderung mit Kindern und Familien in Armutslagen. München/Basel: Ernst Reinhardt Verlag. ISBN 3-497-01539-3
  8. Social Programs that work
  9. Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Helen V. Barnes, and David P. Weikart. Significant Benefits: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 27 (High/Scope Press, 1993)
  10. Lawrence J. Schweinhart, PhD. The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40: Summary, Conclusions, and Frequently Asked Questions (High/Scope Press 2004)
  11. Perry Preschool Project (High-quality preschool for children from disadvantaged backgrounds)
  12. Campbell, Frances A., Craig T. Ramey, Elizabeth Pungello, Joseph Sparling, and Shari Miller-Johnson. “Early Childhood Education: Young Adult Outcomes From the Abecedarian Project,” Applied Developmental Science, 2002, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 42-57
  13. Leonard N. Masse and W. Steven Barnett, A Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Abecedarian Early Childhood Intervention, New Brunswick, N.J.: National Institute for Early Education Research, 2002 [4]
  14. Campbell, Frances A., Elizabeth Pungello, Shari Miller-Johnson, Margaret Burchinal, and Craig T. Ramey. “The Development of Cognitive and Academic Abilities: Growth Curves From an Early Childhood Educational Experiment,” Developmental Psychology, 2001, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 231-242
  15. Abecedarian Project (High-quality child care/preschool for children from disadvantaged backgrounds)
  16. FPG Snapshot; No. 42, April 2007 - Poverty and Early Childhood Intervention. [5]
  17. Baker, Scott, Russell Gersten and Thomas Keating. When less may be more: A 2-year longitudinal evaluation of a volunteer tutoring program requiring minimal training. Reading Research Quarterly, Volume 35, Number 4; Oct-Dec. 2000.
  18. SMART - Start Making a Reader Today (Volunteer tutoring program for at-risk readers in early elementary school)
  19. Jen•sen•ism
  20. Jensen A R. How much can we boost IQ and scholastic achievement? Harvard Educ. Rev. 39:1-123, 1969

Further reading

  • Abernethy, P. E. (1989). Student motivation, academic self-concept, and instructional conditions in compensatory mathematics education: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Adkins, A. B. (1992). A study of the characteristics which can be used to distinguish between effective and ineffective Chapter 1 reading activities in the public school districts of South Carolina: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Agbor-Baiyee, W., Gordon, P. R., & Harper, E. T. (2000). The value of problem-based learning as an orientation tool: Academic Medicine Vol 75(6) Jun 2000, 567.
  • Allington, R. L., & McGill-Franzen, A. (1995). Individualized planning. New York, NY: Elsevier Science.
  • Andary, J. (1983). The longitudinal effects of continuous early childhood compensatory education on the achievement of Detroit public school pupils: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Arroyo, C. G., & Zigler, E. (1993). America's Title I/Chapter 1 programs: Why the promise has not been met. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Austin, G., & et al. (1977). Some perspectives on compensatory education and inequality: Contemporary Educational Psychology Vol 2(3) Jul 1977, 311-320.
  • Avramidis, E., Bayliss, P., & Burden, R. (2000). A survey into mainstream teachers' attitudes towards the inclusion of children with special educational needs in the ordinary school in one local education authority: Educational Psychology Vol 20(2) Jun 2000, 191-211.
  • Back, K. W. (1979). Review of Sozialformen des Lernens: Einzel-und Kleingruppenarbeit im Unterricht: PsycCRITIQUES Vol 24 (1), Jan, 1979.
  • Bailey, D. B., Jr. (2000). The federal role in early intervention: Prospects for the future: Topics in Early Childhood Special Education Vol 20(2) Sum 2000, 71-78.
  • Baker, M. R., & Steiner, J. R. (1995). Solution-focused social work: Metamessages to students in higher education opportunity programs: Social Work Vol 40(2) Mar 1995, 225-232.
  • Baton, S. P. (1978). An investigation of personality attributes as they relate to academic success of the compensatory education student of Carlow College: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Beasley, M. L. (1985). Two f's for developmental teachers: Flexibility and follow through: Forum for Reading Vol 16(2) Spr-Sum 1985, 74-76.
  • Beck, E. L. (1999). Prevention and intervention programming: Lessons from an after-school program: Urban Review Vol 31(1) Mar 1999, 107-124.
  • Beckett, M. V. (1974). A comparative investigation of social competency performances of disadvantaged third-grade children in relation to program, race, and sex: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Benefield, L. W. (1981). The effects of voluntary and mandatory diagnostic-prescriptive instruction on achievement, retention and attitudes of junior college biology students of varying aptitudes, locus of control perceptions and cognitive development levels: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Berrol, S. C. (1976). From compensatory education to adult education: The New York City evening schools, 1825-1935: Adult Education Vol 26(4) Sum 1976, 208-225.
  • Biemiller, A. (1984). Review of Compensatory Education in the Preschool: Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue canadienne des Sciences du comportement Vol 16(4) Oct 1984, 377-378.
  • Blanc, R. A., DeBuhr, L. E., & Martin, D. C. (1983). Breaking the attrition cycle: The effects of supplemental instruction on undergraduate performance and attrition: Journal of Higher Education Vol 54(1) Jan-Feb 1983, 80-90.
  • Borman, G. D., & D'Agostino, J. V. (2001). Title I and student achievement: A quantitative synthesis. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
  • Borman, G. D., D'Agostino, J. V., Wong, K. K., & Hedges, L. V. (1998). The longitudinal achievement of Chapter 1 students: Preliminary evidence from the Prospects study: Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk Vol 3(4) 1998, 363-399.
  • Borman, G. D., Stringfield, S. C., & Slavin, R. E. (2001). Title I: Compensatory education at the crossroads. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
  • Borman, G. D., Wong, K. K., & D'Agostino, J. V. (2001). Coordinating categorical and regular programs: Effects on Title I students' educational opportunities and outcomes. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
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