Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

At-risk children who can self-regulate behavior have higher test scores than their peers

28.04.2010
A study that will be published in a forthcoming journal adds to the mounting evidence that self-regulation – or children’s ability to control their behavior and impulses – is directly related to academic performance.

A key finding in that study shows that at-risk children who can self-regulate have higher reading, math and vocabulary achievement.

The study was conducted by then-Oregon State University graduate student Michaella Sektnan, who did the research as her master’s thesis working with Megan McClelland, an associate professor at OSU and a nationally recognized leader in the areas of self-regulation and early childhood development. Sektnan is now a faculty research assistant for OSU Extension Family and Community Health.

In her paper to be published in a fall edition of Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Sektnan used data on 1,298 children from birth through the first grade from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. “Family risk” in the data was defined by ethnic minority status, low maternal education, low family income and chronic depressive symptoms in the mother.

“We know that these risk factors can lead to a gap in academic achievement,” Sektnan said. “The relationship to risks such as poverty, ethnic status, and maternal education has been well-documented. What we wanted to know was, controlling for these factors, does self-regulation make a difference?”

It turns out the answer to that question is yes. Controlling for these risk factors, Sektnan found that children whose parents and teachers reported that they had strong self-regulation in preschool and kindergarten did significantly better on math, reading and vocabulary at the end of first grade.

“For all outcomes, higher self-regulation was related to higher reading, math and vocabulary, regardless of which risk factor was present,” Sektnan said. “This builds on the increasing body of knowledge about the need to develop self-regulation skills in young children.”

To give an example, McClelland points to the test scores of the children in this national survey. At-risk children with stronger self-regulation in kindergarten scored 15 points higher on a standardized math test in first grade, 11 points higher on an early reading test, and nearly seven points higher on a vocabulary test than at-risk children with weaker self-regulation.

“These were pretty impressive increases in children’s achievement,” McClelland said. “I’m a proponent of building self-regulation in children but even for me, these results were surprising. The discrepancy between these children, tested at a very young age, and their academic scores compared to their peers who were not as able to regulate their behavior was larger than we anticipated.”

McClelland, who has developed simple games such as the Head-to-Toes task to measure self-regulation and predict academic achievement, said it is obvious that in the case of at-risk children, merely focusing on self-regulation skills won’t be enough.

“Obviously, these issues – poverty, educational status, maternal depression – are extremely serious and must be addressed,” she said. “But we now know that we can also help children be successful by teaching them how to self-regulate.”

McClelland added that the data is clearer now than ever: a child that can listen, pay attention, follow instructions, and persist on a task, even if faced with what seems to be giant hurdles at a very young age, will achieve greater success in school.

“Self-regulation is not just about compliance or being obedient,” McClelland said. “It’s about a very basic, but very necessary skill: being able to listen and pay attention, think, and then act. The message to parents may be to put down the flash cards and see if another approach, like playing a simple game of ‘Simon Says’ works better.”

Alan Acock of OSU and Frederick Morrison of the University of Michigan assisted on this study, which included funding support from the National Institute of Child and Human Development and the National Science Foundation.

About the OSU College of Health and Human Sciences: Emphasizing a holistic approach to optimal health and disease prevention, researchers focus on nutrition, physical activity, the psychology of aging improving the health of children and older adults, public policy, access to health care, and maximizing environmentally friendly materials and structures.

Megan McClelland | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.oregonstate.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>