School effects on non-verbal intelligence and nutritional status in rural Zambia



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Learning and Individual Differences


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.



Non-verbal intelligence, Body Mass Index—BMI, Multilevel analysis, School context, Sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia


Copyright 2016 Learning and Individual Differences. This is a post-print version of a published paper that is available at: Recommended citation: Hein, Sascha, Mei Tan, Jodi Reich, Philip E. Thuma, and Elena L. Grigorenko. "School effects on non-verbal intelligence and nutritional status in rural Zambia." Learning and individual differences 46 (2016): 25-37.doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2015.04.004. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licnsing terms and with the author's permission.