Mathew Effect In Learning (accumulative advantage)


The term Mathew effect was emerged from bible verses (Matthew, XXV: 29).
“For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath”
Matthew Effect in education was first coined by Walberg and Tsai in 1983 were they looked at cumulative advantages of educative factors.
They found that early educative experience predicts current educative activities and motivation, and all three factors contribute to the prediction of achievement.

Keith Stanovich used this idea to describe how early acquiring of reading skills leads to later successes in reading as the learner grows, while failing to learn to read before the third or fourth year of schooling may be indicative of lifelong problems in learning new skills.

This may be occurring because children who fall behind in reading would read less, increasing the overall gap between them and their peers.

Later, when students need to read in order to learn new information, their reading difficulty will create difficulty in most other subjects.

In this way they fall further and further behind in school, and ultimately dropping out at a much higher rate than their peers.

Stanovich, K. E. (2009). Matthew Effects in Reading: Some Consequences of Individual Differences in the Acquisition of Literacy. Journal of Education, 189(1–2), 23–55.
Merton, Robert K. Robert K. Merton: Sociology of Science and Sociology as Science. Edited by Craig Calhoun, Columbia University Press, 2010. JSTOR,


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