Law School Admissions


Socioeconomic Status and Academic Achievement: A Meta-Analytic Review of Research

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



admission criteria, incoming indicators, law school diversity


This meta-analysis reviewed the literature on socioeconomic status (SES) and academic achievement in journal articles published between 1990 and 2000. The sample included 101,157 students, 6,871 schools, and 128 school districts gathered from 74 independent samples. The results showed a medium to strong SES–achievement relation. This relation, however, is moderated by the unit, the source, the range of SES variable, and the type of SES–achievement measure. The relation is also contingent upon school level, minority status, and school location. The author conducted a replica of White’s (1982) meta-analysis to see whether the SES–achievement correlation had changed since White’s initial review was published. The results showed a slight decrease in the average correlation. Practical implications for future research and policy are discussed.