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Early Childhood Curiosity and Kindergarten Reading and Math Academic Achievement

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Background: Although children's curiosity is thought to be important for early learning, the association of curiosity with early academic achievement has not been tested. We hypothesized that greater curiosity would be associated with greater kindergarten academic achievement in reading and math. Methods: Sample included 6200 children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort. Measures at kindergarten included direct assessments of reading and math, and a parent-report behavioral questionnaire from which we derived measures of curiosity and effortful control. Multivariate linear regression examined associations of curiosity with kindergarten reading and math academic achievement, adjusting for effortful control and confounders. We also tested for moderation by effortful control, sex, and socioeconomic status (SES). Results: In adjusted models, greater curiosity was associated with greater kindergarten reading and math academic achievement: breading = 0.11, p < 0.001; bmath = 0.12, p < 0.001. This association was not moderated by effortful control or sex, but was moderated by SES (preading = 0.01; pmath = 0.005). The association of curiosity with academic achievement was greater for children with low SES (breading = 0.18, p < 0.001; bmath = 0.20, p < 0.001), versus high SES (breading = 0.08, p = 0.004; bmath = 0.07, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Curiosity may be an important, yet under-recognized contributor to academic achievement. Fostering curiosity may optimize academic achievement at kindergarten, especially for children with low SES.

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... Curiosity, the human drive/motive for knowledge or information (Kidd & Hayden, 2015;Loewenstein, 1994), is a learning facilitator and has received increasing attentions in recent years (Grossnickle, 2016;Kang et al., 2009;von Stumm, Hell, & Chamorro-Premuzic, 2011). It has been found that curiosity is associated with information retrieving (Gruber, Gelman, & Ranganath, 2014;Kang et al., 2009), question-asking behaviors (Jirout & Klahr, 2012), problemsolving skills (Di Leo, Muis, Singh, & Psaradellis, 2019), exploration behaviors (Litman, Hutchins, & Russon, 2005;Vogl, Pekrun, Murayama, & Loderer, 2020), and achievement (Shah, Weeks, Richards, & Kaciroti, 2018;von Stumm et al., 2011). However, to date, the number of studies on curiosity and school achievement is comparatively small, and many of them have used cross-sectional data (see reviews by Grossnickle, 2016;von Stumm et al., 2011). ...
... The study revealed that openness to experience, rather than intellectual curiosity (operationalized using the Need for Cognition scale), was the driving factor for learning (von Stumm, 2018). Nevertheless, recently, a large-scale study (sample size = 6200) found associations between parents' reported curiosity and kindergarten children's test performances in reading and math (Shah et al., 2018). Researchers have also found that epistemic curiosity is a mediator between personality traits (i.e., conscientiousness, openness) and course grades (Hassan, Bashir, & Mussel, 2015). ...
... The personality perspective assumes that epistemic curiosity has indiscernible effects on different subjects (Baumert et al., 2017). Preliminary evidence from a kindergarten sample (Shah et al., 2018) also supports this. Nevertheless, the complex associations between domain-specific/− general motivation and achievement have been well documented (Gaspard, Häfner, Parrisius, Trautwein, & Nagengast, 2017;Guo, Wang, Ketonen, Eccles, & Salmela-Aro, 2018;Marsh & Craven, 2006). ...
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To examine the prospective association between epistemic curiosity and academic achievement, this study focused on 820 (64.2% females) second-year high school students (age 17–18), and their performances in the matriculation exams one year later. In addition, two types of epistemic curiosity, the interest and deprivation types, were examined as independent predictors. Furthermore, the role of curiosity in matriculation exam performance was examined at the general and subject level (i.e., mother tongue and math) by accounting for gender, social economic status, and subject motivation (i.e., subject expectancy and task values). Moreover, we examined the possible mediating role of subject motivation between curiosity and achievement. The path models’ results showed that interest-type curiosity had a direct relation with overall matriculation performance, whereas deprivation-type curiosity had an indirect relation only. For mother tongue performance, interest-type curiosity was the main prospective predictor, although its direct relation disappeared. For math matriculation performance, only deprivation-type curiosity had an indirect relation. The results imply that epistemic curiosity can promote academic achievement, but that the association is achieved through different pathways that depend on curiosity types, motivation mediators, and the domain level of achievements.
... Higher curiosity has been associated with numerous adaptive outcomes in childhood including more robust word acquisition [6], enhanced learning and exploration [7] and higher academic achievement [8,9], highlighting the potential importance of fostering curiosity from an early age. Our previous work found a positive association between higher curiosity and higher academic achievement, with a greater magnitude of benefit for children with socioeconomic disadvantage [10], raising the possibility that promoting curiosity in young children may be one way to mitigate the achievement gap associated with poverty [11]. To foster curiosity in early childhood, it is necessary to consider the modifiable contexts that may promote or inhibit its expression. ...
... A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to assure reliability and to calculate the appropriate loading values for deriving our curiosity factor. Standardized scoring of the curiosity factor was conducted, and good internal consistency was demonstrated (α = 0.70, M = 0.07, SD = 1.2) [10]. Individual question items, loading coefficients, and model fit indices for our curiosity factor are shown in S3 Appendix. ...
... There is some evidence suggesting that children with low curiosity fail engage with their environments in ways that foster motivation, achievement, and more specifically, academic development [46]. Building on our previous work which suggested that higher curiosity can help narrow the achievement gap associated with poverty [10], our results suggest that one potential way to foster curiosity is through facilitating conversational exchanges between children and their parents around moments of shared activity, especially for children from low socioeconomic environments. This aligns with previous language-related research which demonstrates that socioeconomically disadvantaged children preferentially benefit from greater childdirected speech and conversational exchanges [27,45,47,48]. ...
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Objective To examine the main and interactive effects of the amount of daily television exposure and frequency of parent conversation during shared television viewing on parent ratings of curiosity at kindergarten, and to test for moderation by socioeconomic status (SES). Study design Sample included 5100 children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort. Hours of daily television exposure and frequency of parent screen-time conversation were assessed from a parent interview at preschool, and the outcome of early childhood curiosity was derived from a child behavior questionnaire at kindergarten. Multivariate linear regression examined the main and interactive effects of television exposure and parent screen-time conversation on kindergarten curiosity and tested for moderation by SES. Results In adjusted models, greater number of hours of daily television viewing at preschool was associated with lower curiosity at kindergarten (B = -0.14, p = .008). More frequent parent conversation during shared screen-time was associated with higher parent-reported curiosity at kindergarten with evidence of moderation by SES. The magnitude of association between frequency of parent conversation during television viewing and curiosity was greater for children from low SES environments, compared to children from high SES environments: (SES ≤ median): B = 0.29, p < .001; (SES > median): B = 0.11, p < .001. Conclusions Higher curiosity at kindergarten was associated with greater frequency of parent conversation during shared television viewing, with a greater magnitude of association in low-SES families. While the study could not include measures of television program content, digital media use and non-screen time conversation, our results suggest the importance of parent conversation to promote early childhood curiosity, especially for children with socioeconomic disadvantage.
... Researchers have studied the connection between curiosity and more tangible definitions of success, such as academic achievement for children and adolescents, and workplace success for adults in the professional world. One study was conducted by Shah et al. (2018), demonstrating a connection between higher childhood curiosity and higher academic achievement in kindergarten reading and math. They concluded that curiosity may be an important, yet under-recognized contributor to academic achievement, and that fostering curiosity may optimize academic achievement in kindergarten, especially for children from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds (Shah et al., 2018). ...
... One study was conducted by Shah et al. (2018), demonstrating a connection between higher childhood curiosity and higher academic achievement in kindergarten reading and math. They concluded that curiosity may be an important, yet under-recognized contributor to academic achievement, and that fostering curiosity may optimize academic achievement in kindergarten, especially for children from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds (Shah et al., 2018). In another study of Chinese high school students, curiosity was linked to higher academic performance on standardized tests (Wavo, 2004). ...
... George Loewenstein's (1994) seminal paper combined ideas from Gestalt psychology, social psychology, and behavioral decision theory to form an "information-gap theory" about curiosity: curiosity arises when attention becomes focused on a gap in one's knowledge. In studying childhood curiosity, Prachi Shah et al. (2018) characterized curiosity as "the joy of discovery and the motivation to seek information". Is there one conclusive answer? ...
Article
Curiosity is a universal and malleable positive character strength. It has been linked to physical, social, emotional, and psychological well-being, academic success, and success in adulthood. Curiosity is especially important in early childhood because this is a critical stage of development when children’s curiosity is still abundant and organic. But for all its value, curiosity remains under-recognized and under-studied. There is no universally agreed upon definition of curiosity in adults or children. As a result, the research community has varying opinions on how to define, measure, and enhance curiosity. And in many current day classrooms, an overly rigid top-down structure contributes to a disconcerting trend of diminishing curiosity as children grow older. Reviewing the scientific research across various fields, I describe seven psychological constructs (attention, novelty, solitude, inquiry, exploration, surprise, and awe) that can foster curiosity behaviors. I designed a Curiosity Toy Kit incorporating these seven curiosity components to be used as positive interventions for enhancing curiosity in early childhood, when children are 5-6 years old and entering formal education. Adults can use the Curiosity Toy Kit to encourage children to develop positive curiosity behaviors, helping them to flourish in school and beyond.
... Curiosity, the human drive/motive for knowledge or information (Kidd & Hayden, 2015;Loewenstein, 1994), is a learning facilitator and has received increasing attentions in recent years (Grossnickle, 2016;Kang et al., 2009;von Stumm, Hell, & Chamorro-Premuzic, 2011). It has been found that curiosity is associated with information retrieving (Gruber, Gelman, & Ranganath, 2014;Kang et al., 2009), question-asking behaviors (Jirout & Klahr, 2012), problemsolving skills (Di Leo, Muis, Singh, & Psaradellis, 2019), exploration behaviors (Litman, Hutchins, & Russon, 2005;Vogl, Pekrun, Murayama, & Loderer, 2020), and achievement (Shah, Weeks, Richards, & Kaciroti, 2018;von Stumm et al., 2011). However, to date, the number of studies on curiosity and school achievement is comparatively small, and many of them have used cross-sectional data (see reviews by Grossnickle, 2016;von Stumm et al., 2011). ...
... The study revealed that openness to experience, rather than intellectual curiosity (operationalized using the Need for Cognition scale), was the driving factor for learning (von Stumm, 2018). Nevertheless, recently, a large-scale study (sample size = 6200) found associations between parents' reported curiosity and kindergarten children's test performances in reading and math (Shah et al., 2018). Researchers have also found that epistemic curiosity is a mediator between personality traits (i.e., conscientiousness, openness) and course grades (Hassan, Bashir, & Mussel, 2015). ...
... The personality perspective assumes that epistemic curiosity has indiscernible effects on different subjects (Baumert et al., 2017). Preliminary evidence from a kindergarten sample (Shah et al., 2018) also supports this. Nevertheless, the complex associations between domain-specific/− general motivation and achievement have been well documented (Gaspard, Häfner, Parrisius, Trautwein, & Nagengast, 2017;Guo, Wang, Ketonen, Eccles, & Salmela-Aro, 2018;Marsh & Craven, 2006). ...
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To examine the prospective association between epistemic curiosity and academic achievement, this study focused on 820 (64.2% females) second-year high school students (age 17–18), and their performances in the matriculation exams one year later. In addition, two types of epistemic curiosity, the interest and deprivation types, were examined as independent predictors. Furthermore, the role of curiosity in matriculation exam performance was examined at the general and subject level (i.e., mother language and math) by accounting for gender, social economic status, and subject motivations (i.e., subject expectancy and task values). The results showed that interest-type curiosity, but not deprivation-type curiosity, had an effect on overall matriculation performance. Interest-type curiosity had an initial effect on mother language test performance but the effect did not hold when mother language motivations were controlled for. For mathematics matriculation performance, none of the curiosity variables were statistically significant. The results imply that epistemic curiosity can promote academic achievement, but that the effect depends on a specific type and on general achievements.
... Thus, there exists a gap in the literature between the proposed importance of curiosity for learning in childhood (Renninger & Hidi, 2019;Engel, 2011;Gottlieb et al., 2013;Jirout et al., 2018) and empirical evidence directly assessing curiosity states and their benefit for learning and memory in children. While previous research has indicated that curiosity as an individual trait facilitates learning in educational contexts (Kashdan & Yuen, 2007;Shah et al., 2018;von Stumm et al., 2011), it is currently unknown how states of curiosity affect learning and memory in children and adolescents. As states of curiosity are potentially more malleable than trait curiosity, a better understanding of the effects of curiosity in development can help facilitate educational practices related to fostering children's and adolescents' learning. ...
... These results complement previous findings that trait curiosity affects cognition (for reviews, see Grossnickle, 2016;Renninger & Hidi, 2019). Specifically, studies have consistently demonstrated that higher trait curiosity is positively associated with academic achievement in children (Kashdan & Yuen, 2007;Shah et al., 2018;von Stumm et al., 2011). At the same time, the present results elucidate a different aspect of curiosity, namely states of curiosity. ...
... At the same time, the present results elucidate a different aspect of curiosity, namely states of curiosity. While state and trait curiosity are thought to be closely related (Baranes et al., 2015;Grossnickle, 2016;Risko et al., 2012), characterizing the development of state curiosity entails clear benefits in that it can help tailor strategies and interventions to optimally stimulate states of curiosity across childhood and adolescence (Hassinger-Das & Hirsh-Pasek, 2018;Jirout et al., 2018;Kashdan & Yuen, 2007;Shah et al., 2018). Interestingly, these studies have also revealed that the relation between trait curiosity and academic achievement depends on additional factors such as children's perception of the school situation (Kashdan & Yuen, 2007) or socio-economic status (Shah et al., 2018). ...
Article
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Curiosity ‐ broadly defined as the desire to acquire new information ‐ enhances learning and memory in adults. In addition, interest in the information (i.e., when the information is processed) can also facilitate later memory. To date, it is not known how states of pre‐information curiosity and post‐information interest enhance memory in childhood and adolescence. We used a trivia paradigm in which children and adolescents (N = 60, 10–14 years) encoded trivia questions and answers associated with high or low curiosity. States of high pre‐answer curiosity enhanced later memory for trivia answers in both children and adolescents. However, higher positive post‐answer interest enhanced memory for trivia answers beyond the effects of curiosity more strongly in adolescents than in children. These results suggest that curiosity and interest have positive effects on learning and memory in childhood and adolescence, but might need to be harnessed in differential ways across child development to optimize learning.
... The relationship between curiosity and interest, particularly whether they are distinct, has been the subject of numerous discussions (see Peterson & Hidi, 2019 special issue). Both variables have been shown to be associated with learning (Hidi, 2001;Kang et al., 2009;Shah, Weeks, Richards, & Kaciroti, 2018), motivation (Tang & Salmela-Aro, 2021;Vogl, Pekrun, Murayama, & Loderer, 2020), and cognitive development (Malanchini, Engelhardt, Grotzinger, Harden, & Tucker-Drob, 2019;Renninger, Hidi, & Krapp, 1992). For this reason, curiosity is often conflated with interest in the research literature Shin & Kim, 2019). ...
... Recently, the finding that curiosity promotes learning and memory (Brod & Breitwieser, 2019;Kang et al., 2009;Shah et al., 2018) led researchers to also consider it as a motivational variable that is malleable (Grossnickle, 2016). To date, researchers have studied curiosity as an epistemic emotion (i.e., emotions that relate to knowledge construction; e.g., Nerantzaki & Efklides, 2019;Pekrun, Vogl, Muis, & Sinatra, 2017), a motivational disposition (e.g., Jirout & Klahr, 2012;Kahan, Landrum, Carpenter, Helft, & Jamieson, 2017), and as a task induced motivational state (e.g., Kang et al., 2009;Loewenstein, 1994). ...
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The relationships and differences between curiosity and interest have received considerable attention and discussions. Yet, most of the discussions so far draw from little direct empirical evidence. In this set of three studies, the relationship between curiosity and interest were examined. The first study was a meta-analysis that examined the Pearson correlations between scales that aimed to assess curiosity and those that aimed to assess interest. Based on 24 studies (31 effect sizes), we found that curiosity scales correlate with interest scales at a moderate level (r = .53), but have extremely high heterogeneity, suggesting that the relationship largely depends on how they are conceptualized. The second and third studies applied network analyses (i.e., co-occurrence analysis and correlation-based analysis) to data collected using experience sampling method, examining how the subjective feelings of curiosity and interest are related. Across two studies, we found consistently differences between the feelings associated with curiosity and those associated with interest. While the feeling of curiosity was closer to feelings of inquisitiveness and eagerness to know more, the feeling of interest was closer to positive affects such as enjoyment and happiness. Most importantly, an asymmetrical pattern was found in curiosity-interest co-occurrences: when the feeling of curiosity occurred, the co-occurrences of the feeling of interest were highly likely, but not vice versa. That is, when the feeling of interest occurred, the feeling of curiosity was less likely to co-occur. The theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed.
... Furthermore, these families do not have sufficient capital (e.g., educational resources) to meet the needs of children so that children can only improve their academic achievement on their own, such as through more learning engagement (Kim and Fong, 2013). Thus, the relationship between children's learning engagement and academic achievement was more prominent for children from low SES families (Shah et al., 2018). On the other hand, in high SES families, parents emphasize on holistic development and create an artistic atmosphere, cultivating parent-child reading habits, etc. (Niklas et al., 2020;Yuan et al., 2021). ...
... Children from higher SES families had more learning resources and support conducive to learning achievement (Shi and Tan, 2021). However, since children from low SES families have limited learning resources, learning motivation behavior (i.e., learning engagement) compensates for this deficiency (Shah et al., 2018). Thus, learning engagement had a greater impact on the children from low SES families. ...
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To investigate the relationships among child psychological abuse and neglect (CPAN), children’s learning engagement, family socioeconomic status (family SES), and children’s academic achievement, 271 children (Mage = 9.41 ± 0.81 years old) and their parents participated in this study with a longitudinal design. Results revealed that learning engagement at T1 mediated the relationship between CPAN at T1 and academic achievement at T2 when gender, age, grade, and academic achievement at T1 were under control. Family SES at T1 moderated the relationship between children’s learning engagement at T1 and academic achievement at T2. The association between learning engagement and academic achievement was stronger among children from lower family SES. Our findings highlighted the negative impact of CPAN and the critical role of learning engagement in children’s academic achievement, especially for those from low SES families.
... The way cognitive functioning is affected by intrinsic and extrinsic factors is an important research area in behavioural and cognitive science. In humans and non-human primates, curiosity has been identified as a key intrinsic factor underpinning performance in cognitive tasks [1][2][3][4] . Curiosity can be defined as the motivation towards acquisition of novel information and is reflected in approaching and exploring novel stimuli where there is no immediate prospect of reward 3 . ...
... For the negatively reinforced learning task, this trend was already apparent at 5 months of age. Thus, the tendency to show exploratory behaviour appear central to cognitive abilities in horses, as also shown in humans, non-human primates and rodents [1][2][3][4]40,41 . In rodent research, exploratory behaviour and fearfulness are traditionally assessed in the open-field test because rodents-unlike horses-tend to avoid open areas. ...
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The mechanisms underlying individual variation in learning are key to understanding the development of cognitive abilities. In humans and primates, curiosity has been suggested as an important intrinsic factor that enhances learning, whereas in domesticated species research has primarily identified factors with a negative effect on cognitive abilities, such as stress and fearfulness. This study presents the first evidence of a link between object-directed curiosity and learning performance in young horses in two very different learning tasks (visual discrimination and pressure-release). We exposed young horses (n = 44) to standardised novel object tests at 5 months and 1 year of age and found consistency in responses. Standard indicators of fearfulness (e.g. heart rate and alertness) were unrelated to learning performance, whereas exploratory behaviour towards the novel objects correlated to performance in both learning tasks. Exploratory behaviour was unreinforced in the novel object tests and likely reflects the animal’s intrinsic motivation (i.e. curiosity), suggesting that this trait is favourable for learning performance. In addition to the insights that these results provide into cognition in a domesticated species, they also raise questions in relation to fostering of curiosity in animals and the impact that such manipulation may have on cognitive abilities.
... Curiosity is the desire to acquire new knowledge and experiences. It has also been described as a motivation for exploratory behavior and for seeking answers to what is unknown [27]. Researchers often place curiosity within the broader category of information-seeking exploratory behavior, with curiosity being a special form that is internally motivated, whereas the broader term refers to a drive that can be intrinsic or extrinsic [28]. ...
... Through curiosity, initiative, and persistence, children become primary agents in their own learning, becoming skilled in observing the world in expansive ways, formulating meaningful questions, and discovering their own answers [24]. Additionally, curiosity is associated with greater kindergarten reading and math achievement, and accordingly is highlighted among academic and even pediatric guidelines as a foundation for early learning [27]. ...
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Environmental education for young children has great potential for fostering the skills, values, and dispositions that support sustainability. While North American guidelines emphasize the importance of using the natural world for open-ended exploration, discovery, and play, this approach has been criticized for lacking the transformative power necessary for meaningfully contributing to sustainability issues. Four pilot studies were conducted exploring the influence of nature play in the context of nature preschools on children’s curiosity, executive function skills, creative thinking, and resilience. These studies used established quantitative instruments to measure growth in these constructs among nature preschool participants, comparing this growth with participants in high quality, play-based, non-nature preschools. The results suggest a positive contribution of nature play, with greater levels of curiosity, creative thinking, and resilience than what was observed in the non-nature preschool participants, and executive function skills similar to the non-nature preschool participants and exceeding national norms. Collectively, these pilot studies suggest the potential contribution of nature play in the context of education for sustainability.
... The relationship between curiosity and interest, particularly whether they are distinct, has been the subject of numerous discussions (see Peterson & Hidi, 2019 special issue). Both variables have been shown to be associated with learning (Hidi, 2001;Kang et al., 2009;Shah, Weeks, Richards, & Kaciroti, 2018), motivation (Tang & Salmela-Aro, 2021;Vogl, Pekrun, Murayama, & Loderer, 2020), and cognitive development (Malanchini, Engelhardt, Grotzinger, Harden, & Tucker-Drob, 2019;Renninger, Hidi, & Krapp, 1992). For this reason, curiosity is often conflated with interest in the research literature Shin & Kim, 2019). ...
... Recently, the finding that curiosity promotes learning and memory (Brod & Breitwieser, 2019;Kang et al., 2009;Shah et al., 2018) led researchers to also consider it as a motivational variable that is malleable (Grossnickle, 2016). To date, researchers have studied curiosity as an epistemic emotion (i.e., emotions that relate to knowledge construction; e.g., Nerantzaki & Efklides, 2019;Pekrun, Vogl, Muis, & Sinatra, 2017), a motivational disposition (e.g., Jirout & Klahr, 2012;Kahan, Landrum, Carpenter, Helft, & Jamieson, 2017), and as a task induced motivational state (e.g., Kang et al., 2009;Loewenstein, 1994). ...
Article
Full-text available
Three studies on the relationship between curiosity and interest were reported. The first study was a meta-analysis that examined the Pearson correlations between scales assessing curiosity and interest. Based on 24 studies (31 effect sizes), we found that the curiosity scales correlated with the interest scales at a moderate level (r = .53), but they had extremely high heterogeneity. The second and third studies applied network analyses (i.e., co-occurrence analysis and correlation-based analysis) to data that was collected using experience sampling method. Across the studies, we found that while the feelings of curiosity reflected feelings of inquisitiveness, the feelings of interest were aligned with positive affect such as enjoyment and happiness. Importantly, an asymmetrical pattern was found in curiosity-interest co-occurrences: when the feelings of curiosity occurred, the co-occurrence of the feelings of interest was highly likely, but not so vice versa. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
... For example, a meta-analysis of characteristics affecting academic achievement revealed that curiosity predicted academic performance (von Stumm et al., 2011). In other studies, parent and teacher ratings of children's curiosity have predicted achievement (Shah et al., 2018) and standardized test performance (Alberti & Witryol, 1994). Additionally, curiosity has been shown to foster greater recall, persistence, and reading comprehension (Ainley et al., 2002;Arnone et al., 1994). ...
... Ainley et al., 2002;Arnone et al., 1994) and test scores (e.g. Alberti & Witryol, 1994;Shah et al., 2018;von Stumm et al., 2011). However, this previous research focused on trait curiosity, not state curiosity, which is what we measured in this study. ...
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While many view learning as a process of reducing learners’ uncertainty, research suggests that instruction that is uncertain can promote learning and transfer better than instruction that is certain. In addition, research on curiosity suggests that uncertainty is a key trigger of curiosity, which in turn can facilitate learning. However, educational research rarely examines the direct effects of uncertainty on curiosity, learning, or transfer. Additionally, research on the effect of curiosity on learning rarely considers state-level curiosity or how curiosity changes over time. In a study with 208 middle school students learning physics, we addressed these gaps. Participants in two conditions completed learning activities where they invented their own equations for physical science phenomena. The Low Uncertainty condition received relevant information on task process before inventing, while information on task process was withheld in the High Uncertainty (HU) condition, which received irrelevant information before inventing. Both conditions learned the physics content equally well, but the HU condition demonstrated greater state-level curiosity and performed better on transfer problems. Moreover, in both conditions, curiosity decreased over time as students gained more information. Surprisingly, curiosity did not predict learning or transfer, which suggests that curiosity was not the mechanism by which uncertainty influenced transfer. This study advances the notion that introducing uncertainty in learning activities can, perhaps counter-intuitively, promote transfer of knowledge across contexts while also rousing learners’ curiosity. This work demonstrates a practical way for educators to induce uncertainty, by withholding information about task process. This research also broadens our understanding of how to provoke curiosity in classroom contexts.
... Research has shown that students benefit from explicit instruction concerning the nature of science (Moss, 2001;Khishfe & Abd-El-Khalick, 2002;Schwartz et al., 2004) and that promoting a student's curiosity from an early age can lead to increased achievement in math and reading (Shah et al., 2018). Educators can use authentic, messy data to introduce the nature of science and promote associated habits of mind (Box 1). ...
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Authentic, “messy data” contain variability that comes from many sources, such as natural variation in nature, chance occurrences during research, and human error. It is this messiness that both deters potential users of authentic data and gives data the power to create unique learning opportunities that reveal the nature of science itself. While the value of bringing contemporary research and messy data into the classroom is recognized, implementation can seem overwhelming. We discuss the importance of frequent interactions with messy data throughout K–16 science education as a mechanism for students to engage in the practices of science, such as visualizing, analyzing, and interpreting data. Next, we describe strategies to help facilitate the use of messy data in the classroom while building complexity over time. Finally, we outline one potential sequence of activities, with specific examples, to highlight how various activity types can be used to scaffold students' interactions with messy data.
... Socio-psychological and behavioral tendencies among the low social class have both negative and positive effects . For example, a recent study found among individuals with poorer socioeconomic backgrounds, there is a closer relation between curiosity and academic achievements (Shah et al. 2018). Therefore, individual attributes, family upbringing, and other factors may induce positive attitudes and encourage achievement in less-than-ideal situations. ...
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Previous studies have revealed a positive relationship between social class and subjective well-being, but it is still unclear why social class is associated with subjective well-being. In the current study, 4168 Chinese adults aged 17 to 67 years completed measures of social class, present fatalistic time perspective and subjective well-being. Then a mediation analysis was conducted to examine whether present fatalistic time perspective would mediate the association between social class and subjective well-being. Results indicated social class was positively associated with subjective well-being; subjective social class (SSC) had a stronger association with subjective well-being than did objective social class (OSC). Social class was negatively related to present fatalistic time perspective; however, OSC was more predictive of present fatalistic time perspective than was SSC. Moreover, the relationship between social class and subjective well-being was mediated by present fatalistic time perspective, whether SSC or OSC. These results add to our understanding of the theoretical concept of social class and shed new light on a mechanism involved in the social class/well-being association. The implications of this study and future directions are also discussed.
... Development of computational thinking is considered as a very important step although how children's ability towards numbers occurs cannot be explained fully. In the early period, children can count two types of objects by matching them on one to one basis although number conservation skill is not acquired; they can say how many biscuits they want, number of marbles of their friends, and whether these marbles are more or less than their marbles [16][17][18]. ...
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Acquiring information on the complete development of children during their early childhood, observing their development, and identifying the domains in which they need support have always been very important. There is a parallelism between development in the early period and learning, and development learning is best achieved by learning in children. Children have very different development patterns. As development occurs simultaneously on a broad spectrum of domains, progress in one domain affects the progress in another domain also. Thus, identification of problems in early childhood is important in terms of assessment of child’s development and learning. The purpose of th study is adaptation of the early learning observation and rating scale—teacher’s form, developed by Coleman, West, and Gillis, to Turkish and the Turkish culture and evaluation of the causality relations between the learning domains through Path analysis in the Turkish sample. Methodologic descriptive and model testing design methods have been used. The study sample consisted of 166 children in the 4-5-year-old group, receiving education in 59 preschool education institutions, and 20 teachers. Simple random sampling method was used in sample selection. Following the Turkish adaptation processes, the validity and reliability of the scale were examined with a pilot study. It was observed that the scale had high appearance-social and scope-construct validity, and the results obtained were coherent with the usefulness and contribution results obtained in the original study. Strong linear relationships were found between each of the seven learning domains in the scale. The early learning observation and rating scale—teacher’s form, which was adapted to Turkish, was suitable for use in the Turkish sample and revealed the competence or incompetence condition of children in the learning domains of children correctly and realistically.
... Similar to ambiguity, surprising or unexpected observations can create uncertainty and lead to curiosity-driven questions or explanations through adult-child conversations (Frazier et al., 2009;Danovitch and Mills, 2018;Jipson et al., 2018). This curiosity can promote lasting effects; Shah et al. (2018) show that young children's curiosity, reported by parents at the start of kindergarten, relates to academic school readiness. In one of the few longitudinal studies including curiosity, research shows that parents' promotion of curiosity early in childhood leads to science intrinsic motivation years later and science achievement in high school (Gottfried et al., 2016). ...
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Curiosity and curiosity-driven questioning are important for developing scientific thinking and more general interest and motivation to pursue scientific questions. Curiosity has been operationalized as preference for uncertainty (Jirout and Klahr, 2012), and engaging in inquiry-an essential part of scientific reasoning-generates high levels of uncertainty (Metz, 2004; van Schijndel et al., 2018). This perspective piece begins by discussing mechanisms through which curiosity can support learning and motivation in science, including motivating information-seeking behaviors, gathering information in response to curiosity, and promoting deeper understanding through connection-making related to addressing information gaps. In the second part of the article, a recent theory of how to promote curiosity in schools is discussed in relation to early childhood science reasoning. Finally, potential directions for research on the development of curiosity and curiosity-driven inquiry in young children are discussed. Although quite a bit is known about the development of children’s question asking specifically, and there are convincing arguments for developing scientific curiosity to promote science reasoning skills, there are many important areas for future research to address how to effectively use curiosity to support science learning.
... Likewise, studies dealing with the effect of dispositional curiosity in children and adults provide evidence that curiosity is associated with markers of crystallized intelligence. That is, curious children gained more knowledge in learning sessions (Arnone et al., 1994;Van Schijndel et al., 2018) and scored higher on scholastic achievement tests (Alberti & Witryol, 1994;Raine et al., 2002;Shah et al., 2018). Research in the work context shows that dispositional epistemic curiosity is positively related to learning measured by supervisors' ratings (Hassan et al., 2015), self-reported socialization-related learning (Reio & Callahan 2004), training performance (Mussel et al., 2012), vocational school grades (Mussel, 2013a), and intelligence test measuring g c (Dellenbach & Zimprich, 2008;Mussel, 2013a;Von Stumm & Deary, 2012). ...
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Curiosity is a basic driver for learning and development. It has been conceptualized as a desire for new information and knowledge that motivates people to explore their physical and social environment. This raises the question of whether curiosity facilitates the acquisition of knowledge. The present study ( N = 100) assessed epistemic curiosity and general knowledge as well as fluid intelligence (i.e., reasoning ability, processing speed, memory) in a student sample. The results indicate that epistemic curiosity is moderately related to knowledge ( r = .24) and reasoning ability ( r = .30). None of the fluid intelligence measures did moderate the relationship between curiosity and knowledge (interaction terms β < |.08|). Rather, reasoning ability mediated the relationship between epistemic curiosity and general knowledge (indirect effect: β = .10, p < .05). The findings suggest that epistemic curiosity facilitates the acquisition of knowledge by promoting reasoning. One might speculate that epistemically curious individuals enrich their environment, which in turn enhances their cognitive ability.
... Furthermore, advanced probability sampling across the nation would make it possible to ensure that the data is nationally representative. Future studies may also wish to additionally examine outcomes that promote cognitive development among children and adolescents, such as intellectual curiosity [56,57] in order to see if there is similar variability in those contributing constructs. ...
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Although previous research helped to define differences in intelligence between neurotypicals and those with ASD, results were limited by small sample sizes or restricted subtests. Using data from the NIMH Data Archive, this study examined the intelligence of children with ASD (N = 671). Results demonstrate an average standard deviation of 25.75, which is 1.72 times greater than that of the normative sample for the WISC-III. Moreover, students with ASD are 12 times more likely than the general population of students to score within the intellectual disability range, but are also 1.5 times more likely to score in the superior range, suggesting that more students with ASD should be considered for giftedness. Determining the diversity of intelligence among those with ASD has implications for research, clinical practice, and neurological understanding.
... Research evidence shows a relationship between curiosity and creativity, and educational outcomes (e.g. Shah et al., 2018;Nami et al., 2014). However these skills as constructs are blurred and underdeveloped and reliable and valid assessment instruments and tools to cover these skills do not yet exist. ...
Technical Report
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In the context of today’s uncertainty, endangered environment, growing inequalities and the complexity of our societies, education and assessment play a central role in preparing children for the opportunities and the challenges of the future. This foresight study offers a probable scenario of the evolution of assessment of learning outcomes in primary and secondary education in Europe, in the mid-term future, as a response to these trends. The proposed developments in assessment and in policymaking seek to stimulate debate at the European level and support forward-looking policy action. The study is the result of a trend impact and drivers analysis, and a strategic foresight exercise. The foresight methodology of this study included a rapid review of academic and policy studies on educational assessment, as well as a consultation with educational stakeholders at national and EU level through a two-round Delphi survey and online expert panel.
... Curiosity is widely acknowledged as a crucial aspect of children's development, and as an important part of the learning process (Jirout and Klahr, 2012). Evidence suggests associations between curiosity and achievement at school entry (Shah et al., 2018) and that curiosity supports academic performance, even when controlling for students' effort and ability (von Stumm et al., 2011). Despite this evidence, most prior research on the development of curiosity or on promoting curiosity has been conducted in lab settings with individual children (e.g., Cook et al., 2011;Gweon et al., 2014;Shneidman et al., 2016;Danovitch et al., 2021 among others), rather than in school settings. ...
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Curiosity is widely acknowledged as a crucial aspect of children’s development and as an important part of the learning process, with prior research showing associations between curiosity and achievement. Despite this evidence, there is little research on the development of curiosity or on promoting curiosity in school settings, and measures of curiosity promotion in the classroom are absent from the published literature. This article introduces the Curiosity in Classrooms (CiC) Framework coding protocol, a tool for observing and coding instructional practices that support the promotion of curiosity. We describe the development of the framework and observation instrument and the results of a feasibility study using the protocol, which gives a descriptive overview of curiosity-promoting instruction in 35 elementary-level math lessons. Our discussion includes lessons learned from this work and suggestions for future research using the developed observation tool.
... Promoting curiosity has been shown to play a role in adult [33] and infant [39] learning, and foster early academic achievement, particularly for children with low socio-economic status [35]. The majority of research on curiosity has focused on its elicitation through stimuli that are novel, surprising, conceptually conflicting, or uncertain [7,22,37]. ...
Conference Paper
Curiosity-the intrinsic desire for new information-can enhance learning, memory, and exploration. Therefore, understanding how to elicit curiosity can inform the design of educational technologies. In this work, we investigate how a social peer robot's verbal expression of curiosity is perceived, whether it can affect the emotional feeling and behavioural expression of curiosity in students, and how it impacts learning. In a between-subjects experiment, 30 participants played the game LinkIt!, a game we designed for teaching rock classification, with a robot verbally expressing: curiosity, curiosity plus rationale, or no curiosity. Results indicate that participants could recognize the robot's curiosity and that curious robots produced both emotional and behavioural curiosity contagion effects in participants.
... These two constructs are dissimilar and provide details about their differences but hold a particular reputation for educational training (Tang et al., 2020). Curiosity is a human drive that propels people to seek information or knowledge (Grossnickle, 2016;Kidd & Hayden, 2015), and has been shown to have reflective effects on learning (Kang et al., 2009;Shah, Weeks, Richards, & Kaciroti, 2018), motivation (Vogl et al., 2020), and cognitive development (Malanchini et al., 2019). ...
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Curiosity and academic self-concept as psychological constructs are often mentioned in education and psychology. These constructs are elusive in terms of how they are exhibited or portrayed and measured. Despite their elusive nature, they are highly significant to the success or otherwise of learners. Therefore, the current study explored curiosity and academic self-concept among students of category "A" Senior High schools in the Central Region of Ghana. Using a descriptive-quantitative method, a sample of 400 students was selected through proportionate-stratified and systematic sampling techniques. Adapted curiosity (Kashdan et al., 2018) and academic self-concept (Liu & Wang, 2005) scales were used for the data collection. The data collected were analysed using frequencies, percentages, and structural equation modelling (SEM). The study revealed that the majority of the students possessed low curious abilities and low academic self-concepts. The study further revealed that curiosity of deprivation sensitivity (b=.577, p<.001), the curiosity of stress tolerance (b=.248, p=.007), and curiosity of thrill-seeking (b=.544, p<.001) positively and significantly predicted academic self-concept of students but the curiosity of joyful exploration and social curiosity did not predict academic self-concept of students. It was concluded that students' curious abilities were precursors to their academic self-concept. Thereupon, teachers need to devise new approaches by allowing students to engage in other learning opportunities without much restrictions so that they could hone their natural potentials.
... Second, soft skills foster the development of cognitive abilities that further boost learning (Cunha & Heckman, 2007). Research has shown that children who are more motivated and curious tend to learn more and perform better in standardized tests (Heckman & Kautz, 2012;Shah, Weeks, Richards, & Kaciroti, 2018). Not surprisingly, soft skills predict success later in life as just as strongly as cognitive abilities (Kautz, Heckman, Diris, Ter Weel, & Borghans, 2014). ...
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The fourth industrial revolution will bring extensive changes in the nature of work. While automation is likely to displace workers, new occupations will be created. Emerging occupations are likely to be disproportionately concentrated in the nonroutine and cognitive category, and require skills that cannot be easily automated. This paper argues that meeting the skill demands of the fourth industrial revolution requires strengthening learnability – the willingness and ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn – among the current and future workforce. The paper provides a summary of the literature on how automation impacts jobs. In this context, the paper considers the implications for workforce development in terms of both skills supply and demand. Specifically, the paper describes emerging trends in education systems and identifies trends among firms that demand greater learnability. Finally, the paper proposes moving toward a learning society that promotes learnability at all stages of workforce development.
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Using a nationally representative dataset of young children in the United States (the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Birth Cohort), the purpose of this study was to test the associations between teachers’ perceptions of preschoolers’ ( N = 3350) school readiness and actual academic readiness levels, as measured by math and reading assessments. The dimensions of readiness included social/emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and physical well-being. The findings suggest that teachers’ perceptions of various aspects of readiness may matter differently for math and reading achievement as well as for certain racial/ethnic groups. Teachers’ perceptions of all domains of readiness appear to be an important predictor of math achievement for Black children. Perceptions of behavior were negatively associated with academic readiness for Hispanic children, yet significantly and positively associated with math achievement for Black children. Teachers’ perceptions of cognitive readiness were only positively associated with academic readiness for Black children. Training, education, and support for establishing close teacher–child relationships may maximize preschoolers’ academic readiness by promoting social/emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and physical well-being.
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Uncertainty is a key variable in fostering curiosity, which, in turn, is associated with learning. Yet, research in educational contexts rarely takes uncertainty into account, and rarely explores uncertainty and curiosity in the context of complex instructional activities. One concern with uncertainty is that it can provoke negative affect. Providing learners with expectations of future uncertainty may attenuate their feelings of negative affect. In a study with 138 middle school students learning physics concepts, we examined the relationship between uncertainty, curiosity, learning, transfer, and affect. Some students were given an inherently uncertain form of instruction, called Invention, in which information on how to solve the problem was initially withheld, while others were given direct instruction with all the necessary information to solve similar problems beforehand (No Uncertainty condition). Some of the students receiving uncertain instruction were given expectations about feeling uncertain (Expected Uncertainty condition), and some were not (Unexpected Uncertainty condition). Students in the unexpected uncertainty condition were the most curious, while students in the no uncertainty condition were the least curious. However, giving expectations of uncertainty reduced students’ negative affect. All groups learned the content equally well, but the expected and unexpected uncertainty groups exhibited greater transfer. Further, positive affect predicted learning, above and beyond condition, and curiosity predicted transfer, but not above and beyond condition. This study extends existing research on uncertainty and curiosity by studying these constructs in real classrooms, in the context of an exploratory learning paradigm, and by considering curiosity’s effect on transfer, rather than just learning. This work also demonstrates a practical approach for educators to foster students’ curiosity and transfer.
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Curiosity has a long history of research and rich definitions and classifications as a common mental state and personality trait. The division and coordination of multiple brain regions enable individuals to form a cognitive process of generating and evaluating prediction error, triggering and mediating curiosity, and producing surprise and new prediction error, so as to reduce the prediction error and information gap between internal states and external environment, and eliminate uncertainty. Curiosity has a significant role in improving cognitive function and maintaining mental and physical health during development. Future research can be further considered from a cross-species, interdisciplinary, and multi-domain perspective to promote the deepening of research topics, the development of research methods, and the application of research results in curiosity.
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Accumulating evidence in adults has shown that curiosity and surprise enhance memory via activity in the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and dopaminergic areas. Based on findings of how these brain areas and their inter-connections develop during childhood and adolescence, we discuss how the effects of curiosity and surprise on memory may develop during childhood and adolescence. We predict that the maturation of brain areas potentially related to curiosity elicitation (hippocampus, anterior cingulate cortex [ACC], prefrontal cortex) and protracted development of hippocampal-PFC and ACC-PFC connectivity lead to differential effects of curiosity and surprise on memory during childhood and adolescence. Our predictions are centred within the PACE (Prediction-Appraisal-Curiosity-Exploration) Framework which proposes multiple levels of analyses of how curiosity is elicited and enhances memory.
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Researchers studying curiosity and interest note a lack of consensus in whether and how these important motivations for learning are distinct. Empirical attempts to distinguish them are impeded by this lack of conceptual clarity. Following a recent proposal that curiosity and interest are folk concepts, we sought to determine a non-expert consensus view on their distinction using machine learning methods. In Study 1, we demonstrate that there is a consensus in how they are distinguished, by training a Naïve Bayes classification algorithm to distinguish between free-text definitions of curiosity and interest (n = 396 definitions) and using cross-validation to test the classifier on two sets of data (main n = 196; additional n = 218). In Study 2, we demonstrate that the non-expert consensus is shared by experts and can plausibly underscore future empirical work, as the classifier accurately distinguished definitions provided by experts who study curiosity and interest (n = 92). Our results suggest a shared consensus on the distinction between curiosity and interest, providing a basis for much-needed conceptual clarity facilitating future empirical work. This consensus distinguishes curiosity as more active information seeking directed towards specific and previously unknown information. In contrast, interest is more pleasurable, in-depth, less momentary information seeking towards information in domains where people already have knowledge. However, we note that there are similarities between the concepts, as they are both motivating, involve feelings of wanting, and relate to knowledge acquisition.
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In this study we examined the relationship of students' 21st century skills with their academic and behavioral outcomes. We investigated K-12 teachers' (n = 150) judgment of students' (n = 3,108) use of 21st century skills (i.e., persistence, curiosity, affect, and cognition behaviors) via a Likert-type rating scale. We compared teachers' ratings with students' academic and behavioral outcomes in a southeastern school district. We used Hierarchical Linear Modeling with length of teacher acquaintance with the student as the nesting variable. Teacher ratings for students' low instances of persistence behaviors and high instances of externalizing affect behaviors were predictive of a higher probability of student office discipline referrals. We found a positive correlation for teachers' ratings of students' cognition behaviors and their reading, mathematics, and science outcomes. Teachers' student length of acquaintance was significant for academic outcomes. Results indicated a predictive relationship with teachers' judgment of students' 21st century skills and student outcomes.
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Researchers studying curiosity and interest note a lack of consensus in whether and how these important motivations for learning are distinct. Empirical attempts to distinguish them are impeded by this lack of conceptual clarity. Following a recent proposal that curiosity and interest are folk concepts, we sought to determine a non-expert consensus view on their distinction using machine learning methods. In Study 1, we demonstrate that there is a consensus in how they are distinguished, by training a Naïve Bayes classification algorithm to distinguish between free-text definitions of curiosity and interest (n = 396 definitions) and using cross-validation to test the classifier on two sets of data (main n = 196; additional n = 218). In Study 2, we demonstrate that the non-expert consensus is shared by experts and can plausibly underscore future empirical work, as the classifier accurately distinguished definitions provided by experts who study curiosity and interest (n = 92). Our results suggest a shared consensus on the distinction between curiosity and interest, providing a basis for much-needed conceptual clarity facilitating future empirical work. This consensus distinguishes curiosity as more active information seeking directed towards specific and previously unknown information. In contrast, interest is more pleasurable, in-depth, less momentary information seeking towards information in domains where people already have knowledge. However, we note that there are similarities between the concepts, as they are both motivating, involve feelings of wanting, and relate to knowledge acquisition.
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This paper explores curiosity of Further Education (FE) lec- turers in the United Kingdom through personal narratives and focused group discussions. The paper identifies how curiosity is viewed by FE lecturers as a positive trait for learners to possess, yet when discussing their own curiosities, views changed. Narratives emerge of curiosity being more of a problematic trait to possess whilst lecturing within the business-like structures and an outcome driven environment of FE. The lack of space for lecturer’s curiosity was viewed not as a specific institutions problem, but as a system wide problem across the culture of FE. Lecturers felt that creating curiosity, created more work for themselves and was neither celebrated nor embraced within their FE settings.
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Despite a high primary school enrollment in India, the overall learning levels have been low, and the dropout level in secondary school and beyond has been high. One reason for low learning levels and high drop-out rates is the student’s lack of motivation to learn in the classroom. We suggest that curiosity may be a useful tool to improve student motivation. We look at some important variables that have been found to affect curiosity in the classroom: self-determination needs, information relevance, coherence, concreteness, ease of comprehension, fantasy, belief about interest malleability, and information gap. Finally, we suggest ways to incorporate them in the classroom to improve student motivation.
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Numerous studies indicate that intrinsic motivation predicts academic achievement. However, relatively few have examined various subtypes of intrinsic motivation that predict overall achievement, such as motivation for exercise and physical activity. Based upon the 16 basic desires theory of personality, the current study examined the motives of 178 senior high school (gymnasium) students (mean age = 17.6, range = 16-20) from Finland, using the Reiss School Motivation Profile. In structural equation models that controlled for gender and age, intellectual curiosity was positively associated with achievement, whereas the family motive was negatively associated with achievement. Boys had a higher intellectual curiosity and a lower family motive than girls. The physical activity motive had a significant negative interaction with intellectual curiosity, such that youth with higher intellectual curiosity had the strongest achievement when their physical activity motive was lower. This suggests that adolescents with a strong desire for exercise may have some difficulty in selective high schools that require rigorous study and long hours of sitting, even when they enjoy learning. Implications for motivational theory, education research, physical education for promoting fitness, and school psychology practice are discussed.
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To examine how gradients in socioeconomic status (SES) impact US children's reading and math ability at kindergarten entry and determine the contributions of family background, health, home learning, parenting, and early education factors to those gradients. Analysis of 6600 children with cognitive assessments at kindergarten entry from the US Early Childhood Longitudinal Birth Cohort Study. A composite SES measure based on parent's occupation, education, and income was divided into quintiles. Wald F tests assessed bivariate associations between SES and child's cognitive ability and candidate explanatory variables. A decomposition methodology examined mediators of early cognitive gradients. Average reading percentile rankings increased from 34 to 67 across SES quintiles and math from 33 to 70. Children in lower SES quintiles had younger mothers, less frequent parent reading, less home computer use (27%-84%), and fewer books at home (26-114). Parent's supportive interactions, expectations for their child to earn a college degree (57%-96%), and child's preschool attendance (64%-89%) increased across quintiles. Candidate explanatory factors explained just over half the gradients, with family background factors explaining 8% to 13%, health factors 4% to 6%, home learning environment 18%, parenting style/beliefs 14% to 15%, and early education 6% to 7% of the gaps between the lowest versus highest quintiles in reading and math. Steep social gradients in cognitive outcomes at kindergarten are due to many factors. Findings suggest policies targeting levels of socioeconomic inequality and a range of early childhood interventions are needed to address these disparities. Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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Research has established the importance of early socioeconomic advantage and disadvantage for understanding later life outcomes, but less is known about change in the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and child development within the period of early childhood. Competing hypotheses drawn from the literature posited: (1) a stable SES-development relationship, (2) a stronger relationship in infancy than at older ages, and (3) a stronger relationship at school entry than at younger ages. Using the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (2001–2007), we followed 8600 children from infancy through kindergarten entry to model change over time in the relationship between socioeconomic status and cognitive and behavioral development. The unexpected main finding was that the relationships between three socioeconomic measures (household income, assets, and maternal educational attainment) strengthened from infancy through age 4 or 4½, then weakened slightly until the start of kindergarten. Indirect evidence suggested preschool education as one possible explanation. We argue for researchers to expand the school transition concept to include the now widespread prekindergarten year, as well as for attention to psychological and physiological developmental factors that may shape the relationship between SES and cognitive and behavioral development throughout early childhood.
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This paper proposes a new theoretical model of curiosity that incorporates the neuroscience of “wanting” and “liking”, which are two systems hypothesised to underlie motivation and affective experience for a broad class of appetites. In developing the new model, the paper discusses empirical and theoretical limitations inherent to drive and optimal arousal theories of curiosity, and evaluates these models in relation to Litman and Jimerson's (2004) recently developed interest-deprivation (I/D) theory of curiosity. A detailed discussion of the I/D model and its relationship to the neuroscience of wanting and liking is provided, and an integrative I/D/wanting-liking model is proposed, with the aim of clarifying the complex nature of curiosity as an emotional-motivational state, and to shed light on the different ways in which acquiring knowledge can be pleasurable.
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Recent studies suggest that children born at late preterm (34-36 weeks gestation) and early term (37-38 weeks) may have poorer developmental outcomes than children born at full term (39-41 weeks). We examined how gestational age is related to cognitive ability in early childhood using the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Cognitive development was assessed using Bracken School Readiness Assessment at age 3 years, British Ability Scales II at ages 3, 5 and 7 years and Progress in Mathematics at age 7 years. Sample size varied according to outcome between 12 163 and 14 027. Each gestational age group was compared with the full-term group using differences in z-scores and risk ratios for scoring more than -1 SD below the mean. Children born at <32 weeks gestation scored lower (P < 0.05) than the full-term group on all scales with unadjusted z-score differences ranging between -0.8 to -0.2 SD. In all groups, there was an increased risk (P < 0.05) of scoring less than -1 SD below the mean compared with the full-term group for some of the tests: those born at < 32 weeks had a 40-140% increased risk in seven tests, those born at 32-33 weeks had a 60-80% increased risk in three tests, those born at 34-36 weeks had a 30-40% increased risk in three tests, and those born at 37-38 weeks had a 20% increased risk in two tests. Cognitive ability is related to the entire range of gestational age, including children born at 34-36 and 37-38 weeks gestation.
Chapter
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The Concept of CuriosityA Framework for Factors that Support CuriosityElaborating the Framework for Curiosity Supportive FactorsCuriosity InterventionsConclusion
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An imbalance exists between the role of curiosity as a motivational force in nearly all human endeavors and the lack of scientific attention given to the topic. In recent years, however, there has been a proliferation of concepts that capture the essence of curiosity-recognizing, seeking out, and showing a preference for the new. In this chapter, we combine this work to address the nature of curiosity, where it fits in the larger scheme of positive emotions, the advantages of being curious in social relationships, links between curiosity and elements of well-being, and how it has been used in interventions to improve people's quality of life. Our emphasis is on methodologically sophisticated findings that show how curiosity operates in the laboratory and everyday life, and how, under certain conditions, curiosity can be a profound source of strength or a liability. People who are regularly curious and willing to embrace the novelty, uncertainty, and challenges that are inevitable as we navigate the shoals of everyday life are at an advantage in creating a fulfilling existence compared with their less curious peers. Our brief review is designed to bring further attention to this neglected, underappreciated, human universal.
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In this chapter, we discuss the construct of effortful control and review literature relevant to its development and significance for optimal development in childhood. After considering its definition and links of the construct to that of emotion-related regulation, we review literature on the emergence of effortful control in childhood and its relations to constructs such as emotionality, compliance, delay of gratification, moral development, empathy, adjustment, social competence, and cognitive and academic performance. Finally, we review literature on the socialization of effortful control, especially in the family. The literature reviewed is consistent with the perspective that effortful control is linked to children's emerging social competence, adjustment, and morality. In addition, although effortful control is based in temperament and has a hereditary basis, environmental influences likely contribute to its development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Research on curiosity has undergone 2 waves of intense activity. The 1st, in the 1960s, focused mainly on curiosity's psychological underpinnings. The 2nd, in the 1970s and 1980s, was characterized by attempts to measure curiosity and assess its dimensionality. This article reviews these contributions with a concentration on the 1st wave. It is argued that theoretical accounts of curiosity proposed during the 1st period fell short in 2 areas: They did not offer an adequate explanation for why people voluntarily seek out curiosity, and they failed to delineate situational determinants of curiosity. Furthermore, these accounts did not draw attention to, and thus did not explain, certain salient characteristics of curiosity: its intensity, transience, association with impulsivity, and tendency to disappoint when satisfied. A new account of curiosity is offered that attempts to address these shortcomings. The new account interprets curiosity as a form of cognitively induced deprivation that arises from the perception of a gap in knowledge or understanding. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The overall issue of assessment during early childhood, and its relation to school readiness and other decisions, is currently widely debated. Expanding early childhood education and child care enrollments, better scientific knowledge about early childhood development, and decisions about public spending, necessitate careful consideration of which assessment tools to use, as well as why and when to use them. More specifically, the disconnection between the importance of social and emotional domains of development, and their status within educational programming and assessment, has long been lamented. The last several years have, however, witnessed a blossoming of attention to these areas during early childhood, as crucial for both concurrent and later well-being and mental health, as well as learning and academic success. Teachers view children’s “readiness to learn” and “teachability” as marked by positive emotional expressiveness, enthusiasm, and ability to regulate emotions and behaviors. Based on these assertions, I suggest a battery of preschool social–emotional outcome measures, tapping several constructs central to emotional and social competence theory, specifically emotional expression, emotion regulation, emotion knowledge, social problem solving, and positive and negative social behavior.
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To assess the relative effects and the impact of perinatal and sociodemographic risk factors on long-term morbidity within a total birth population in Florida. School records for 339 171 children entering kindergarten in Florida public schools in the 1992-1993, 1993-1994, or 1994-1995 academic years were matched with Florida birth records from 1985 to 1990. Effects on long-term morbidity were assessed through a multivariate analysis of an educational outcome variable, defined as placement into 9 mutually exclusive categories in kindergarten. Of those categories, 7 were special education (SE) classifications determined by statewide standardized eligibility criteria, 1 was academic problems, and the reference category was regular classroom. Generalized logistic regression was used to simultaneously estimate the odds of placement in SE and academic problems. The impact of all risk factors was assessed via estimated attributable excess/deficit numbers, based on the multivariate analysis. Educational outcome was significantly influenced by both perinatal and sociodemographic factors. Perinatal factors had greater adverse effects on the most severe SE types, with birth weight <1000 g having the greatest effect. Sociodemographic predictors had greater effects on the mild educational disabilities. Because of their greater prevalence, the impact attributable to each of the factors (poverty, male gender, low maternal education, or non-white race) was between 5 and 10 times greater than that of low birth weight and >10 times greater than that of very low birth weight, presence of a congenital anomaly, or prenatal care. Results are consistent with the hypothesis that adverse perinatal conditions result in severe educational disabilities, whereas less severe outcomes are influenced by sociodemographic factors. Overall, sociodemographic factors have a greater total impact on adverse educational outcomes than perinatal factors.
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This study examined the role of self-regulation in emerging academic ability in one hundred and forty-one 3- to 5-year-old children from low-income homes. Measures of effortful control, false belief understanding, and the inhibitory control and attention-shifting aspects of executive function in preschool were related to measures of math and literacy ability in kindergarten. Results indicated that the various aspects of child self-regulation accounted for unique variance in the academic outcomes independent of general intelligence and that the inhibitory control aspect of executive function was a prominent correlate of both early math and reading ability. Findings suggest that curricula designed to improve self-regulation skills as well as enhance early academic abilities may be most effective in helping children succeed in school.
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Using 6 longitudinal data sets, the authors estimate links between three key elements of school readiness--school-entry academic, attention, and socioemotional skills--and later school reading and math achievement. In an effort to isolate the effects of these school-entry skills, the authors ensured that most of their regression models control for cognitive, attention, and socioemotional skills measured prior to school entry, as well as a host of family background measures. Across all 6 studies, the strongest predictors of later achievement are school-entry math, reading, and attention skills. A meta-analysis of the results shows that early math skills have the greatest predictive power, followed by reading and then attention skills. By contrast, measures of socioemotional behaviors, including internalizing and externalizing problems and social skills, were generally insignificant predictors of later academic performance, even among children with relatively high levels of problem behavior. Patterns of association were similar for boys and girls and for children from high and low socioeconomic backgrounds.
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Cognitive control skills important for success in school and life are amenable to improvement in at-risk preschoolers without costly interventions.
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School readiness includes the readiness of the individual child, the school's readiness for children, and the ability of the family and community to support optimal early child development. It is the responsibility of schools to be ready for all children at all levels of readiness. Children's readiness for kindergarten should become an outcome measure for community-based programs, rather than an exclusion criterion at the beginning of the formal educational experience. Our new knowledge of early brain and child development has revealed that modifiable factors in a child's early experience can greatly affect that child's learning trajectory. Many US children enter kindergarten with limitations in their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development that might have been significantly diminished or eliminated through early identification of and attention to child and family needs. Pediatricians have a role in promoting school readiness for all children, beginning at birth, through their practices and advocacy. The American Academy of Pediatrics affords pediatricians many opportunities to promote the physical, social-emotional, and educational health of young children, with other advocacy groups. This technical report supports American Academy of Pediatrics policy statements "Quality Early Education and Child Care From Birth to Kindergarten" and "The Inappropriate Use of School 'Readiness' Tests."
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This paper examines interrelations between biological and social influences on the development of self-regulation in young children and considers implications of these interrelations for the promotion of self-regulation and positive adaptation to school. Emotional development and processes of emotion regulation are seen as influencing and being influenced by the development of executive cognitive functions, including working memory, inhibitory control, and mental flexibility important for the effortful regulation of attention and behavior. Developing self-regulation is further understood to reflect an emerging balance between processes of emotional arousal and cognitive regulation. Early childhood educational programs that effectively link emotional and motivational arousal with activities designed to exercise and promote executive functions can be effective in enhancing self-regulation, school readiness, and school success.
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This study investigated the relationship of kindergarten teachers' ratings of their students' 21st century skills (college readiness skills) with students' behavioral and academic performance. Teachers rated the frequency that their students (n = 579) demonstrated persistence, curiosity, affective, and cognitive (e.g., critical thinking) behaviors within their classrooms via the Human Behavior Rating Scale: Brief (HBRS: Brief, a teacher rating scale. The relationship of the HBRS: Brief teachers' ratings was compared with data the school annually collected (behavioral ratings, academic performance, student office discipline referrals [ODRs], and absences). Hierarchical linear modeling indicated that teachers' ratings of students' persistence and cognition behaviors were significantly associated with students' academic performance. Teachers' persistence, curiosity, and externalizing affect ratings were predictive of behavioral ratings and teachers' externalizing affect ratings were significantly associated with ODRs. The results support the efficacy of investigating teacher perceptions of students' 21st century skills with kindergarteners.
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Researchers and the general public have become increasingly intrigued by the roles that systematic tendencies toward thinking, feeling, and behaving might play in academic achievement. Some measures of constructs belonging to this group have been well studied in genetics and psychometrics, while much less is known about measures of other such constructs. The current study focuses on 7 character traits prominently featured in influential intervention-oriented and/or socialization theories of academic achievement: grit, intellectual curiosity, intellectual self-concept, mastery orientation, educational value, intelligence mindset, and test motivation. In a population-based sample of 811 school-aged twins and triplets from the Texas Twin Project, we tested (a) how each measure relates to indices of the Big Five personality traits, (b) how the measures relate to one another, (c) the extent to which each measure is associated with genetic and environmental influences and whether such influences operate through common dimensions of individual differences, and (d) the extent to which genetic and environmental factors mediate the relations between fluid intelligence, character measures, verbal knowledge, and academic achievement. We find moderate relations among the measures that can be captured by a highly heritable common dimension representing a mixture of Openness and Conscientiousness. Moreover, genetically influenced variance in the character measures is associated with multiple measures of verbal knowledge and academic achievement, even after controlling for fluid intelligence. In contrast, environmentally influenced variance in character is largely unrelated to knowledge and achievement outcomes. We propose that character measures popularly used in education may be best conceptualized as indexing facets of personality that are of particular relevance to academic achievement. (PsycINFO Database Record
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Curiosity is a basic element of our cognition, but its biological function, mechanisms, and neural underpinning remain poorly understood. It is nonetheless a motivator for learning, influential in decision-making, and crucial for healthy development. One factor limiting our understanding of it is the lack of a widely agreed upon delineation of what is and is not curiosity. Another factor is the dearth of standardized laboratory tasks that manipulate curiosity in the lab. Despite these barriers, recent years have seen a major growth of interest in both the neuroscience and psychology of curiosity. In this Perspective, we advocate for the importance of the field, provide a selective overview of its current state, and describe tasks that are used to study curiosity and information-seeking. We propose that, rather than worry about defining curiosity, it is more helpful to consider the motivations for information-seeking behavior and to study it in its ethological context.
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Early Childhood Longitudinal-Birth Cohort data were used to examine the extent to which preschool and kindergarten teachers aligned in their beliefs regarding the importance of school competencies at kindergarten entry, whether misalignment in beliefs predicted academic and sociobehavioral adjustment in kindergarten, and if relations were moderated by children's socioeconomic status. Preschool and kindergarten teachers rated the importance of 12 skills categorized into domains of academic, self-regulatory, and interpersonal competence. In the fall of kindergarten, children were directly assessed on reading and math skills, and kindergarten teachers rated children's approaches to learning, disruptive behavior, and social behavior. Findings revealed (a) misalignment was greatest for teachers’ beliefs about the importance of academic competence (b) greater misalignment in beliefs pertaining to all three domains of competence predicted poorer ratings of approaches to learning, social skills, and lower math achievement, and (c) children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds were more susceptible to the negative influence of misalignment, across adjustment outcomes, compared to their more-advantaged peers. Results are discussed in relation to efforts aimed at promoting alignment within children's early educational contexts.
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Abstract— This article reviews the literature on self‐regulation and the development of school readiness and academic competence in early childhood. It focuses on relations between the development of cognitive aspects of regulation—referred to as executive functions and defined as abilities used to regulate information and to organize thinking in goal‐directed activities—and the development of reactivity and regulation in stimulus‐driven emotion, attention, and physiological stress response systems. It examines a bidirectional model of cognition–emotion interaction in the development of self‐regulation in which top‐down executive control of thought and behavior develops in reciprocal and interactive relation to bottom‐up influences of emotion and stress reactivity. The bidirectional model is examined within the context of innovative preschool interventions designed to promote school readiness by promoting the development of self‐regulation.
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This paper presents a dynamic, ecologically informed approach to conceptualizing and studying the transition to formal schooling. This perspective acknowledges that early school transitions play an important role in later school success; theorizes that a full understanding of child competence must examine the influence of the relationships among child characteristics and home, school, peer, family, and neighborhood contexts; and, most importantly, examines how these relationships change over time. This approach recommends that future policy, practice, and research be based on the following three premises. First, the transition to school must be conceptualized in terms of relationships between children and their surrounding contexts, such as schools, peers, families, and neighborhoods. Second, the measurement of children's readiness for school must acknowledge the combined influence of school, home, peers, and neighborhood contexts, the relationship among such contexts, and their direct and indirect effects on children. Third, and most specific to this paper, the examination of this transition period must address how contexts and relationships change over time, and how change and stability in these relationships form key aspects of children's transition to school. Ultimately, research informed by these principles may advise policy and practice on transition to school in normative and high-risk populations.
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Research Findings: This study analyzed the school readiness beliefs of parents of 452 children from public pre-kindergarten and the relations of these beliefs to socioeconomic status and children's readiness skills. Parents conceived readiness largely in terms of the ability to name objects, letters, or numbers, but few included inferential skills. Readiness beliefs were related not to socioeconomic status but to ethnicity. Readiness beliefs about the importance of independence, social competence, nominal knowledge, and inferential skills were related in expected ways to children's skills. Practice or Policy: Infrequent inclusion of inferential skills among parents' readiness beliefs may not bode well for children. Informational programs for parents about the critical role of higher order cognitive skills and ways to promote them are needed.
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Motivational interviewing has become widely adopted as a counseling style for promoting behavior change; however, as yet it lacks a coherent theoretical framework for understanding its processes and efficacy. This article proposes that self-determination theory (SDT) can offer such a framework. The principles of motivational interviewing and SDT are outlined and the parallels between them are drawn out. We show how both motivational interviewing and SDT are based on the assumption that humans have an innate tendency for personal growth toward psychological integration, and that motivational interviewing provides the social-environmental facilitating factors suggested by SDT to promote this tendency. We propose that adopting an SDT perspective could help in furthering our understanding of the psychological processes involved in motivational interviewing.
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The extent to which two measures of epistemic curiosity (EC), the Epistemic Curiosity Scale (ECS; Litman & Spielberger, 2003) and the curiosity as a Feeling-of-Deprivation Scale (CFDS; Litman & Jimerson, 2004), differentiated between interest (I) and deprivation (D) type curiosity was examined in four studies. In studies 1 (N=725) and 2 (N=658), exploratory factor analyses of the ECS and CFDS subscales yielded two factors; the first (I-type) involved pleasure associated with discovering new ideas, while the second (D-type) emphasized spending time and effort to acquire a specific answer or solution. In study 3 (N=762), confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that a 2-factor model comprised of the I- and D-type curiosity items identified in study 2 had the best fit. In study 4 (N=515), correlations between revised I- and D-type measures and different learning goals were evaluated. As hypothesized, the I-EC scale correlated with mastery-oriented learning, whereas the D-EC scale was related to failure-avoidance and success-orientation. The results suggest that I-EC is concerned with stimulating positive affect, diversive exploration, learning something completely new and mastery-oriented learning; D-EC involves the reduction of uncertainty, specific exploration, acquiring information that is missing from an existing knowledge-set and performance-oriented learning.
Article
AN INVESTIGATION WAS CONDUCTED TO DETERMINE A DEFINITION OF CURIOSITY THAT WOULD HELP IDENTIFY PERSONALITY PATTERNS OF CHILDREN WHO ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE EITHER HIGH OR LOW IN CURIOSITY. DATA COLLECTED IN EARLIER STUDIES WERE FACTOR ANALYZED TO IDENTIFY THE PERSONAL AND SOCIAL VARIABLES THAT DIFFERENTIATE CHILDREN HIGH IN CURIOSITY FROM THOSE LOW IN CURIOSITY. SEVERAL KINDS OF MEASURING INSTRUMENTS WERE USED TO DETERMINE HIGH AND LOW CURIOSITY BOYS AND HIGH AND LOW CURIOSITY GIRLS, AND TO MEASURE VARIABLES THAT SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENTIATE AMONG THOSE GROUPS. THESE MEASURES WERE TEACHER JUDGEMENT OF CURIOSITY, PEER JUDGEMENT OF CURIOSITY, "ABOUT MYSELF" FOR SELF-RATING OF CURIOSITY, LORGE-THORNDIKE INTELLIGENCE TESTS, THE CALIFORNIA TEST OF PERSONALITY, A SOCIAL DISTANCE SCALE CALLED "OTHER PEOPLE TEST," THE BEHAVIOR PREFERENCE RECORD, THE CHILDREN'S PERSONALITY QUESTIONNAIRE, THE WORD ASSOCIATION TEST (CREATIVITY), THE CASSEL GROUP LEVEL OF ASPIRATION TEST, PEER JUDGMENT OF SOCIAL BEHAVIOR, THE INSTITUTE OF CHILD STUDY SECURITY TEST, THE INTOLERANCE OF AMBIGUITY SCALE, THE SOCIAL ATTITUDES SCALE, DESCRIPTIVE WORDS (MORALITY), AND THE SITUATIONAL INTERPRETATION EXPERIMENT. FACTORS IDENTIFIED BY THE ANALYSIS WERE DESCRIBED IN RELATION TO EACH OF THE FOUR GROUPS STUDIED. FROM THE RESULTS, THE AUTHOR CONCLUDED THAT THERE ARE PERSONAL AND SOCIAL FACTORS THAT DIFFERENTIATE THESE FOUR GROUPS, AND THAT, ALTHOUGH CURIOSITY AS A TERM HAD NOT BEEN DEFINED, THE BEHAVIOR OF THOSE WHO SHOW DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF CURIOSITY WAS SET FORTH MORE CLEARLY THAN IT HAD BEEN BEFORE. (AL)
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New theoretical ideas and empirical research show that very young children's learning and thinking are strikingly similar to much learning and thinking in science. Preschoolers test hypotheses against data and make causal inferences; they learn from statistics and informal experimentation, and from watching and listening to others. The mathematical framework of probabilistic models and Bayesian inference can describe this learning in precise ways. These discoveries have implications for early childhood education and policy. In particular, they suggest both that early childhood experience is extremely important and that the trend toward more structured and academic early childhood programs is misguided.
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The relationship between motivation and academic success has been better established with older children and adults than with younger children. As part of a larger project, the purpose of this study was to examine the relation-ship between classroom motivation and academic achievement in young elementary-school-aged children. The participants were 122 first-grade and 129 third-grade children from a mid-sized city in the southern United States. The findings from the current study were consistent with previous research in that higher levels of mastery motivation and judgment motivation were found to be related to higher math and reading grades in third graders. However, higher levels of mastery motivation, not judgment motivation, were related to higher math and reading grades in first graders.
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• This work, a second edition of which has very kindly been requested, was followed by La Construction du réel chez l'enfant and was to have been completed by a study of the genesis of imitation in the child. The latter piece of research, whose publication we have postponed because it is so closely connected with the analysis of play and representational symbolism, appeared in 1945, inserted in a third work, La formation du symbole chez l'enfant. Together these three works form one entity dedicated to the beginnings of intelligence, that is to say, to the various manifestations of sensorimotor intelligence and to the most elementary forms of expression. The theses developed in this volume, which concern in particular the formation of the sensorimotor schemata and the mechanism of mental assimilation, have given rise to much discussion which pleases us and prompts us to thank both our opponents and our sympathizers for their kind interest in our work. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This prospective study applied self-determination theory to investigate the effects of students' course-specific self-regulation and their perceptions of their instructors' autonomy support on adjustment and academic performance in a college-level organic chemistry course. The study revealed that: (1) students' reports of entering the course for relatively autonomous (vs. controlled) reasons predicted higher perceived competence and interest/enjoyment and lower anxiety and grade-focused performance goals during the course, and were related to whether or not the students dropped the course; and (2) students' perceptions of their instructors' autonomy support predicted increases in autonomous self-regulation, perceived competence, and interest/enjoyment, and decreases in anxiety over the semester. The change in autonomous self-regulation in turn predicted students' performance in the course. Further, instructor autonomy support also predicted course performance directly, although differences in the initial level of students' autonomous self-regulation moderated that effect, with autonomy support relating strongly to academic performance for students initially low in autonomous self-regulation but not for students initially high in autonomous self-regulation. © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Sci Ed84:740–756, 2000.
Article
Children enter kindergarten with disparate rudimentary reading and mathematics skills; capabilities for paying attention, sitting still and making friends; mental health; and inclinations for aggressive behavior. The role of these characteristics in producing fifth-grade school achievement is the subject of this paper. We find considerable impacts for school-entry academic skills but, with the exception of a kindergartener's capacity to pay attention, virtually no impacts for the collection of socioemotional skills. This finding holds both for the overall sample and for subgroups defined by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The most powerful pre-school avenue for boosting fifth-grade achievement appears to be improving the basic academic skills of low-achieving children prior to kindergarten entry.
Article
Virtually all human individual differences have been shown to be moderately heritable. Much of this research, however, focuses on measures of dysfunctional behavior and relatively fewer studies have focused on positive traits. The values in action (VIA) project is a comprehensive and ambitious classification of 24 positive traits, also known as character strengths (Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association), the majority of which have received no behavior genetic attention. Using a sample of 336 middle-aged twins drawn from the Minnesota Twin Registry who completed the VIA inventory of strengths, we detected significant genetic and non-shared environmental effects for 21 of 24 character strengths with little evidence of shared environmental contributions. Associations with a previously administered measure of normal personality found moderate phenotypic overlap and that genetic influences on personality traits could account for most, but not all, of the heritable variance in character strengths.
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This article examined teachers’ judgments of the prevalence and types of problems children present upon entering kindergarten. A large, national sample of teachers (N = 3,595) was surveyed by using the National Center for Early Development and Learning’s Transition Practices Survey (1996). Teachers reported they perceived that 16% of children had difficult entries into kindergarten. Up to 46% of teachers reported that half their class or more had specific problems in any of a number of areas in kindergarten transition. Rates of perceived problems were related to school minority composition; district poverty level; and, for certain behaviors, school metropolitan status. The effects of these demographic characteristics were independent and additive. Teachers’ ethnicity showed a significant relation to their rates of reported problems. Results are discussed in terms of risk factors that predict transition problems and the match between children’s competencies and teacher’s expectations. These findings confirm the view that entering kindergarten is indeed a period of transition for children.
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Children's early approaches to learning (ATL) enhance their adaptation to the demands they experience with the start of formal schooling. The current study uses individual growth modeling to investigate whether children's early ATL, which includes persistence, emotion regulation, and attentiveness, explain individual differences in their academic trajectories during elementary school. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), the present investigation examined the association between ATL at kindergarten entry and trajectories of reading and math achievement across 6 waves of data from kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade (n = 10,666). The current study found a positive link between early ATL and individual trajectories of reading and math performance. Overall, children's early ATL was equally beneficial for children regardless of their race/ethnicity and dimensions of their socioeconomic background. However, links between early ATL and academic trajectories differed by their gender and initial levels of math and reading achievement.
Article
Given curiosity's fundamental role in motivation, learning, and well-being, we sought to refine the measurement of trait curiosity with an improved version of the Curiosity and Exploration Inventory (CEI; Kashdan, Rose, & Fincham, 2004). A preliminary pool of 36 items was administered to 311 undergraduate students, who also completed measures of emotion, emotion regulation, personality, and well-being. Factor analyses indicated a two factor model-motivation to seek out knowledge and new experiences (Stretching; 5 items) and a willingness to embrace the novel, uncertain, and unpredictable nature of everyday life (Embracing; 5 items). In two additional samples (ns = 150 and 119), we cross-validated this factor structure and provided initial evidence for construct validity. This includes positive correlations with personal growth, openness to experience, autonomy, purpose in life, self-acceptance, psychological flexibility, positive affect, and positive social relations, among others. Applying item response theory (IRT) to these samples (n = 578), we showed that the items have good discrimination and a desirable breadth of difficulty. The item information functions and test information function were centered near zero, indicating that the scale assesses the mid-range of the latent curiosity trait most reliably. The findings thus far provide good evidence for the psychometric properties of the 10-item CEI-II.
Article
In order to determine whether high-curiosity boys (HCB) differed from low-curiosity boys (LCB) in their self-concepts, 15 HCB and 14 LCB were selected on the basis of a definition of curiosity. They were chosen using teacher and peer judgments and controlling for intelligence. Several instruments purporting to measure aspects of the self-concept were administered. All indicated that HCB do have higher self-concepts than do LCB. The former tend to exhibit better interpersonal attitudes and to participate, according to their own reports, in activities which logically seem to be an indication of curiosity. Although LCB tend to be more variable than HCB on the instruments administered, the differences, in general, tend to be insignificant.
Article
The California Child Q-set (CCQ) was used to explore the structure of personality in early adolescence and to develop scales to measure the "Big Five" dimensions: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness to Experience. Mothers provided Q-sorts of 350 ethnically diverse boys between 12 and 13 years old. Analyses of the construct validity of the scales provided a nomological network relating the Big Five to theoretically and socially important criterion variables, such as juvenile delinquency, Externalizing and Internalizing disorders of childhood psychopathology, school performance, IQ, SES, and race. These effects were obtained using diverse methods, including self-reports from the boys, ratings by their mothers and their teachers, and objective-test data. In addition to the Big Five, analyses also suggested 2 possibly age-specific dimensions of personality in early adolescence. Discussion is focused on the changing manifestations of personality traits throughout development.
Article
Prekindergarten programs are expanding rapidly, but to date, evidence on their effects is quite limited. Using rich data from Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, we estimate the effects of prekindergarten on children's school readiness. We find that prekindergarten increases reading and mathematics skills at school entry, but also increases behavioral problems and reduces self-control. Furthermore, the effects of prekindergarten on skills largely dissipate by the spring of first grade, although the behavioral effects do not. Finally, effects differ depending on children's family background and subsequent schooling, with the largest and most lasting academic gains for disadvantaged children and those attending schools with low levels of academic instruction.
Early and Middle Childhood Objectives
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The relationship between approaches to learning and academic achievement among kindergarten students: an analysis using Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten students (ECLS-K)
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