Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor's Name

Charles Bleiker

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

Leonard Bliss

Advisor's Name

Angela Salmon

Advisor's Name

Laura Dinehart

Keywords

early childhood education, academic success, social development, emotional development, elementary education

Date of Defense

6-22-2010

Abstract

Social and emotional development has been considered an important factor in child development which has been placed at the end of the learning spectrum due to high stakes testing. Social and emotional development consists of the relationships an individual has with others, the level of self-control, and the motivation and perseverance a person has during an activity (Bandura, 1989). This study examined the relationship between Hispanic children’s prekindergarten social and emotional development and their academic success.

Hispanic children from a large southeastern city whose parents were receiving subsidized child-care were followed from their prekindergarten year through third grade (N=1,978). Several hierarchical regressions were run to determine the relationship between children’s social and emotional development, during their prekindergarten year using the DECA (Devereaux Early Childhood Assessment), and the their academic success, as measured by kindergarten through third grade end of the year reading and mathematics academic grades, second grade SAT (Stanford Achievement Test) scores, and third grade FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) and NRT (Norm Referenced Test) scores. Hierarchical regressions were conducted for each grade and subject in order to control for demographics and prior achievement. The results of this study revealed that for Hispanic children from low-income families, the best predictor for academic success was the children’s prior academic achievement. Social and emotional development showed no significant predictive value for the third grade criterion variables as well as end of the year academic grades in second grade and kindergarten reading. Evidence did suggest that for first grade end of the year academic grades and kindergarten math, social and emotional development had a small predictive value.

Further research must be conducted as to why social and emotional development, after controlling for demographics and previous academic achievement, bears such a small predictive value when it is clear that many professionals feel it is the most important factor for school readiness.

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