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ERIC Number: EJ1084529
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9630
Younger Children Experience Lower Levels of Language Competence and Academic Progress in the First Year of School: Evidence from a Population Study
Norbury, Courtenay Frazier; Gooch, Debbie; Baird, Gillian; Charman, Tony; Simonoff, Emily; Pickles, Andrew
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, v57 n1 p65-73 Jan 2016
Background: The youngest children in an academic year are reported to be educationally disadvantaged and overrepresented in referrals to clinical services. In this study we investigate for the first time whether these disadvantages are indicative of a mismatch between language competence at school entry and the academic demands of the classroom. Methods: We recruited a population sample of 7,267 children aged 4 years 9 months to 5 years 10 months attending state-maintained reception classrooms in Surrey, England. Teacher ratings on the Children's Communication Checklist-Short (CCC-S), a measure of language competence, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-Total Difficulties Score (SDQ), a measure of behavioural problems, and the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP), a measure of academic attainment, were obtained at the end of the reception year. Results: The youngest children were rated by teachers as having more language deficits, behaviour problems, and poorer academic progress at the end of the school year. Language deficits were highly associated with behaviour problems; adjusted odds ratio 8.70, 95% CI [7.25-10.45]. Only 4.8% of children with teacher-rated language deficits and 1.3% of those with co-occurring language and behaviour difficulties obtained a "Good Level of Development" on the EYFSP. While age predicted unique variance in academic attainment (1%), language competence was the largest associate of academic achievement (19%). Conclusion: The youngest children starting school have relatively immature language and behaviour skills and many are not yet ready to meet the academic and social demands of the classroom. At a population level, developing oral language skills and/or ensuring academic targets reflect developmental capacity could substantially reduce the numbers of children requiring specialist clinical services in later years.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail: cs-journals@wiley.com; Web site: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire