Data from a longitudinal study in progress were used to investigate the relationships between intellectual ability prior to schooling opportunities and characteristics of family and home environment, and elementary school attendance and performance in 3 rural Guatemalan communities. Pre-school- ing mental test performances, family SES level, and indices of parental values concerning education were all associated with attending or not attending school. Length of school attendance was predicted by pre-schooling mental test scores for girls and by family SES level and parental values for boys. Age at first enrollment was predicted by both pre-schooling mental test scores and family SES level for both sexes. School grades were predicted by pre-schooling mental test scores and intellectual stimulation provided in the home but not by family SES level. It is argued that schooled and non-schooled peers in most semi-illiterate communities are unlikely to be originally comparable, and that conclusions based on previous studies of the effects of formal schooling on intellectual development must be reconsidered.



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