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 The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>