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ERIC Number: ED562745
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Patterns of School Readiness among Low-Income Kindergarteners
Abenavoli, Rachel M.; Greenberg, Mark T.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
School readiness is best conceptualized as a multidimensional construct that spans several skill domains. Academic and behavioral skills have been identified as important components of school readiness that uniquely predict learning and achievement. Few studies, however, have examined the effects of these skills simultaneously or explored how they interact within individuals. Person-oriented approaches show promise in furthering the understanding of variation in school readiness. The current study, which was conducted in a low-income, urban school district in Pennsylvania, had two primary aims. First, the authors examined whether teacher ratings of children's skills at the beginning of kindergarten could be used to identify school readiness profiles that differed in patterns of strengths and weaknesses across multiple domains (i.e., academic skills, learning engagement, social-emotional skills, aggression, and inattention/hyperactivity). Second, they explored the validity of profiles derived from teacher ratings by examining group differences on concurrent measures of language, executive functioning, peer relationships, and student-teacher relationships. Participants were 301 kindergarteners (64% male) from a low-income, urban setting who were also part of a broader study about the development and prevention of aggression. At the start of kindergarten, teachers in 10 elementary schools rated children on aggression. These ratings were used to recruit children either to a "high aggression" group, if they scored in the top quartile of their class on aggression, or a "low aggression" group, if they scored in the bottom quartile of their class on aggression. The current study used data from 180 "high aggression" children and 121 "low aggression" children with data on any of the 10 teacher-rated indicators of school readiness in the fall of kindergarten. On average, children were about 6 years old (M = 6.09, SD = 0.38) in the fall of kindergarten. Using teacher ratings from the fall of kindergarten, the current study identified four school readiness profiles that differed in their patterns of strengths and weakness across multiple domains of functioning. These profiles also differed on other measures of language, executive functioning, and relationships with peers and teachers, which suggests that profiles derived from teacher ratings are meaningful and valid. Future work should extend this work by exploring the predictive validity of school readiness profiles derived from teacher ratings into the early elementary school years. Results highlight the importance of considering intraindividual patterns of school readiness skills. Person-oriented approaches can aid in the identification of kindergarteners with risky school readiness profiles, as well as inform the development and delivery of individually tailored interventions to meet the specific needs of children starting school. Tables and figures are appended.
Descriptors: School Readiness, Low Income Students, Kindergarten, Young Children, Urban Schools, Profiles, Validity, Skills, Executive Function, Peer Relationship, Teacher Student Relationship, Preschool Teachers, Language
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.sree.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania