School Effects on Non-Verbal Intelligence and Nutritional Status in Rural Zambia

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This study uses hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to examine the school factors (i.e., related to school organization and teacher and student body) associated with non-verbal intelligence (NI) and nutritional status (i.e., body mass index; BMI) of 4204 3rd to 7th graders in rural areas of Southern Province, Zambia. Results showed that 23.5% and 7.7% of the NI and BMI variance, respectively, were conditioned by differences between schools. The set of 14 school factors accounted for 58.8% and 75.9% of the between-school differences in NI and BMI, respectively. Grade-specific HLM yielded higher between-school variation of NI (41%) and BMI (14.6%) for students in grade 3 compared to grades 4 to 7. School factors showed a differential pattern of associations with NI and BMI across grades. The distance to a health post and teacher's teaching experience were the strongest predictors of NI (particularly in grades 4, 6 and 7); the presence of a preschool was linked to lower BMI in grades 4 to 6. Implications for improving access and quality of education in rural Zambia are discussed. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.


Hein, S., Tan, M., Reich, J., Thuma, P. E., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2016). School effects on non-verbal intelligence and nutritional status in rural Zambia. Learning and Individual Differences, 46, 25–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2015.04.004

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