School Readiness and Later Achievement
Children who exhibit behavior problems in kindergarten are not doomed to academic failure when they reach the upper grades, concludes an analysis involving 36,000 schoolchildren in the United States, Britain, and Canada.
All other factors being equal, the study found, the most important predictors of later academic success are the math and early reading skills that children bring with them when they start school. The study found that kindergartners’ attention-related skills, such as the ability to concentrate or control hyperactive behavior, also matter for later academic achievement, but to a lesser degree than do their initial academic skills.
On the other hand, children who are withdrawn, disruptive, aggressive, or have a hard time getting along with peers at the start of their school careers were just as likely to succeed in school by 3rd grade or later as their less-troubled kindergarten classmates, according to the study. It was published in the November issue of Developmental Psychology, a peer-reviewed journal. The research team was led by Greg J. Duncan, an economist from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
A version of this article appeared in the November 28, 2007 edition of Education Week