Development assessment of competence from early childhood to middle adolescence

Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.
Journal of Adolescence (Impact Factor: 2.05). 01/2007; 29(6):857-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2006.04.009
Source: PubMed


This study represents a developmentally informed, empirically validated examination of competence across multiple domains (Social, Cognitive, Emotional well-being), gender and age (early childhood, middle childhood, early adolescence, middle adolescence). Competence indicators were created and the structure of these domains was tested using multi-method, multi-informant data collected on 191 participants drawn from a prospective study of at-risk children. The results indicated that inter-individual differences in Cognitive and Social competence were stable across time, whereas inter-individual differences in Emotional well-being were stable only between early and middle adolescence. While the strength of stability of Cognitive competence was similar across different time points, the stability of Social competence declined after middle childhood, suggesting more inter-individual variability with regard to change. The findings also indicated that both the structure and the stability of competence are similar for boys and girls.

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    • "The present study is limited in several respects. Foremost, while maternal reports are known to be reliable and valid measures of social competence in early and middle childhood (Masten et al., 1995; Obradovic et al., 2006), they are not commonly used to assess competence in adolescence (most researchers rely on adolescents' self-reports). It is also the case that the correlations between our age-specific measure and the age-variant measures were modest. "
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    ABSTRACT: Using a sample of individuals (277 males, 315 females) studied since birth in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, the present study investigated how early pubertal maturation and school transition alter youth trajectories of social competence during the transition to adolescence. Social competence showed strong continuity, with the most socially competent children remaining so in adolescence. Early pubertal maturation and school transitions accentuate individual differences, increasing social competence among more competent youth, but further diminishing social competence among less competent individuals. In essence, facing challenges that require social competence may further separate competent individuals from less competent peers. Thus, the psychosocially rich become richer, while the psychosocially poor become poorer.
    Journal of Research on Adolescence 09/2011; 21(3):576-585. DOI:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00705.x · 1.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the effort to promote the preschool literacy and learning-related skills that later support reading, one promising resource is school-family partnership. Yet, in many ways, it remains under-explored and -exploited. This dissertation addressed two central research questions. First, what are the nature, extent, and variability of school-family partnership practices in preschool? And second, how are these practices related to early literacy and learning-related social skills? Study 1, School-Family Partnership and Early Learning in Head Start Preschools, examined data from 800 children participating in the Family and Child Experiences Survey during Head Start (preschool) and kindergarten. Analyses revealed variability in the nature and frequency of partnership practices by both families and educators. Further, vocabulary learning in Head Start was related to family book reading and in-school volunteering, while cooperative/compliant behavior was inversely associated with parent volunteering. As for school outreach, encouragement of family book reading by Head Start was associated with children’s decoding knowledge but inversely related to the frequency of families’ shared reading at home. Information from Head Start about child development and resources for family wellbeing were positively linked to children’s approaches to learning. Finally, invitations by Head Start for in-school involvement predicted family volunteering. Longitudinal models found that, in general, these effects were gone by the end of kindergarten. Study 2, A Closer Look at School-Family Partnership and Early Learning in Socioeconomically Diverse Preschools, focused specifically on the critical preschool year, gathering data on the frequency and skill focus of a wider range of partnership practices among 133 preschool families and 33 teachers, and assessing associations between these practices and a larger collection of literacy and social skills. Analyses again found variability in family involvement and teacher outreach, with a generally low frequency of each. Nevertheless, families’ at-home involvement was positively related to children’s self-control, responsibility, and cooperation but inversely related to their sound awareness and vocabulary learning. In-school involvement was positively associated with assertiveness. Parents’ communication with the school was positively linked to alphabet and vocabulary learning. Finally, teacher outreach was inversely related to self-control. Teacher invitations for and family engagement in in-school involvement were linked. Ph.D. Education & Psychology University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies
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