The Impact of Kindergarten Learning-Related Skills on Academic Trajectories at the End of Elementary School
Recent research indicates that children's learning-related skills (including self-regulation and social competence) contribute to early school success. The present study investigated the relation of kindergarten learning-related skills to reading and math trajectories in 538 children between kindergarten and sixth grade, and examined how children with poor learning-related skills fared throughout elementary school on reading and math. Latent growth curves indicated that learning-related skills had a unique effect on children's reading and math scores between kindergarten and sixth grade and predicted growth in reading and math between kindergarten and second grade. In addition, children with poor learning-related skills performed lower than their higher-rated peers on measures of reading and mathematics between kindergarten and sixth grade, with the gap widening between kindergarten and second grade. Between third and sixth grade, this gap persisted but did not widen. Discussion focuses on the importance of early learning-related skills as a component in children's academic trajectories throughout elementary school and the need for early intervention focusing on children's self-regulation and social competence.