Academic gains in kindergarten related to eight classroom practices

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Christopher, C. & Farran, D.C. (2020).  Academic gains in kindergarten related to eight classroom practices.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 53.  638-649.


The present study investigated whether eight specific classroom practices previously shown to be significantly related to children’s achievement in prekindergarten (pre-k) classrooms were also important in kindergarten classrooms. Students were assessed in math, language, literacy, and self-regulation at the end of their pre-k year (pre-test) and again at the end of their kindergarten (K) year (post-test). Daylong classroom observations using an observation tool comprised primarily of behavioral counts were conducted in 98 classrooms in the fall and spring of students’ K year. Results provide evidence that many of the classroom practices associated with children’s success in pre-k are also predictive of children’s continued academic gains in kindergarten. The strongest of these predictors were students’ engagement in sequential activities, the amount of math students experienced, and students’ involvement in learning. In addition, there was evidence that K students benefited from receiving less behavior disapproving, and interacting with teachers who displayed a more positive tone, and listened to children more. Interestingly, teachers’ level of instruction was not predictive of students’ gains, perhaps due to the fact that teachers were rarely observed using a level of instruction higher than basic skills. These practices are concrete enough to lend themselves to coaching but future research should determine whether experimentally manipulating them would lead to more positive outcomes for children.