Project: The Home Math Environment and Children's Math Achievment: A Meta-Analysis


Mathematical thinking is in high demand in the global market, but approximately six percent of school-age children across the globe experience math difficulties (Shalev, et al., 2000). The home math environment (HME), which includes all math-related activities, attitudes, beliefs, expectations, and utterances in the home, may be associated with children’s math development. In order to examine the relation between the HME and children’s math abilities, a preregistered meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the average weighted correlation coefficient (r) between the HME and children’s math achievement and how potential moderators (i.e., assessment, study, and sample features) might contribute to study heterogeneity. A multilevel correlated effects model using 631 effect sizes from 64 quantitative studies comprised of 68 independent samples found a positive, statistically significant average weighted correlation of r = .13 (SE = .02, p < .001). Our combined sensitivity analyses showed that the present findings were robust, and that the sample of studies has evidential value. A number of assessment, study, and sample characteristics contributed to study heterogeneity, showing that no single feature of HME research was driving the large between-study differences found for the association between the HME and children’s math achievement. These findings indicate that children’s environments and interactions related to their learning are supported in the specific context of math learning. Our results also show that the HME represents a setting in which children learn about math through social interactions with their caregivers (Vygotsky, 1978), and what they learn depends on the influence of many levels of environmental input (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and the specificity of input children receive (Bornstein, 2002).

Public Significance Statement: The findings of this meta-analysis suggest that children’s home math environments (e.g., parent-child math interactions) are positively associated with children’s math achievement. To promote children’s math skills, it may be beneficial to support parents in providing positive home math experiences for their children.

Project Active From
October 2018 to April 2021
Educational Environment
Project Method(s)
Funding Agency / Grant Number
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development / R01HD052120

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