NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: ED567236
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 36
Examining the Role of Early Academic and Non-Cognitive Skills as Mediators of the Effects of City Connects on Middle School Academic Outcomes
O'Dwyer, Laura M.; Lee-St. John, Terrence; Raczek, Anastasia E.; Luna Bazaldua, Diego A.; Walsh, Mary
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Out-of-school factors can significantly impact students' readiness to learn and thrive in school. Research confirms that larger social structures and contexts beyond the school are critical, accounting for up to two-thirds of the variance in student achievement (Coleman et al., 1966; Rothstein, 2010; Phillips, Brooks-Gunn, Duncan, Klebanov, & Crane, 1998; Leventhal & Brooks-Gunn, 2000). These out-of-school factors can be particularly pernicious in the context of poverty. For children living in poverty, limited resources and chronic stressors can result in poor attendance, high mobility, social-emotional dysfunction, and lack of readiness for school (Dearing, 2008). Even in the face of significant family strengths (Strauss, 2013), poverty can limit families' abilities to invest money, time and energy in children's growth and expose children to chaos and environmental contagions (Brooks-Gunn & Duncan, 1997; Evans, 2004). Many have argued that schools cannot hope to close the achievement gap without addressing out-of-school factors (Berliner 2013; Bryk, et al., 2010). Historically, schools have addressed some of these factors through the work of school nurses, counselors, social workers, and psychologists, but student support has varied widely, without a standardized set of practices (Lean & Colucci, 2010). The research described here was conducted as part of the evaluation of City Connects, a theoretically-guided, evidence-based approach to addressing out-of-school barriers to achievement and thriving in high-poverty urban elementary schools. This study extends prior research by examining the mechanisms that lead to the positive impact of City Connects on later academic achievement. The research question is: Are the positive effects of City Connects on student academic achievement (standardized test scores) mediated by students' early academic and non-cognitive skills (effort, behavior, work habits)? Although the mediation hypothesis was not confirmed by the data at hand, the study provides evidence that with high-quality elementary school student support, early academic and noncognitive skills lead to later achievement. Tables and figures are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts (Boston)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System