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Birth Order, Family Configuration and Verbal Achievement NMSQT

Breland, Hunter M.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Birth Order, Family Characteristics, High School Students, National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT), Scholarship Testing Programs, Verbal Ability


Two samples of National Merit Scholarship participants tested in 1962 and the entire population of almost 800,000 participants tested in 1965 were examined. Consistent effects in all three groups were observed with respect to both order and family size (firstborn and those of smaller families scoring higher). Control of both socio-economic variables and mother's age (by analysis of variance as well as by analysis of covariance) failed to alter the relationships. Step-down analayses suggested that the effects were due to a verbal component and that no differences were attributable to non-verbal factors. Detailed sibship configurations based on birth order, family size, sibling spacing and sibling sex were developed for both The resulting 82 different sibship configuration were ranked by test score means. A rank-order correlation between sexes yielded a very high value of .96, and a high correlation was shown to persist within family sizes. References and tables are included. (Author) (58pp.)

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