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ERIC Number: ED529415
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jul
Pages: 30
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
The Power of Early Success 1998-2004: A Follow-Up Study on the Determinants of Student Performance. Research Report #8
Peterson, Kari; Abbott, Martin
Washington School Research Center
In April 2002, Jeffrey Fouts (2002) presented a longitudinal study of student performance in Washington using Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) results from 1998 to 2001. Although constrained by the lack of individual student identification numbers at that time, he concluded that success on the WASL in the 4th grade was a strong predictor of achieving success in later grades. The opposite was also true; starting at the lowest levels of the WASL in the 4th grade strongly predicted less success in meeting the standards in later testing. According to Fouts, "A 4th grade Level 4 reading student was 28 times more likely to have met the reading standard three years later than was a 4th grade Level 1 reading student" (p. 20). Results were similar for math testing. These dramatic findings highlighted the need for assisting students early in their academic experience. However, according to Fouts the current education system did not "appear to be serving these students adequately" (p. 21). This study is an attempt to replicate and extend Fouts' 2002 study using the most recent data. Whereas Fouts used data from 4th and 7th grades to predict 10th grade achievement, the current study follows student progress from 4th through 10th grades. The following questions encompass Fouts' questions, but extend the findings through the more recent data: (1) How did students who took the 2001 7th grade reading and math WASL perform three years later on the 2004 10th grade WASL?; (2) How did students in different levels on the WASL in 1998 4th grade perform in 2001 7th and 2004 10th grades?; (3) What percentage of students scoring at various levels on the 4th grade WASL in 1998 met the WASL standard in the 10th grade in 2004?; and (4) Are there student factors that are related to student performance over time? A total of 8,463 students were included in the final database. The students in this study represented 33 districts and 318 schools around the state. The findings presented in this report extend Fouts (2002) study and are consistent with his report. The examination into student achievement over time revealed that past achievement was the best predictor of future achievement. One variable that is often cited as being influential in student achievement is ethnicity. The current study found that the likelihood of moving out of Level 1 reading was the greatest for Asian/Pacific Islander students and the least for Black/African American students. For math, Asian/Pacific Islander and White students were more likely to move out of Level 1 than Hispanic and Black/African American students. Hierarchical regressions revealed that mothers' education, amount of time per week doing homework, and three interaction terms predicted 16% of the variance in 10th grade reading achievement. Taken together, mothers' education, amount of time per week doing homework, and two interaction terms accounted for 23% of the variance in math achievement. The authors' study affirmed Fouts' (2002) conclusion that early success on the WASL was a strong predictor of later success. Although there were some differences between his predicted 10th grade scores and their actual scores, the dynamics of achievement progression over the grades was the same. Their last finding implies that there are some student practices that may be potentially helpful in partially mitigating the lack of early success. This is an area that deserves further investigation. This may assist leaders and practitioners in their quest for improving school success. (Contains 12 tables, 2 figures and 3 footnotes.) [For related report, "The Power of Early Success: A Longitudinal Study of Student Performance on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, 1998-2001. Research Report," see ED479541.]
Washington School Research Center. 3307 Third Avenue West Suite 210, Seattle, WA 98119. Tel: 206-378-5377; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 10; Grade 4; Grade 7; Grade 9; High Schools; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Seattle Pacific Univ., Lynnwood, WA. Washington School Research Center.
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Iowa Tests of Educational Development; Washington Assessment of Student Learning