Note: The manuscript reference(s) are available in each brief.
Findings Published in 2013
This study examined teachers’ emotional support in classrooms and how it relates to childrens’ outcomes in preschool and kindergarten. Findings suggest that more consistent emotional support was related to better academic and social outcomes, emphasizing the potentially important role of consistency in children’s school experiences.
This study uniquely examined some commonly held beliefs relating to bullying, victimization, and disliking in adolescence. Findings suggest that victims of bullying are not disliked by most peers, but rather strongly disliked by those who identify as a bully. Implications are discussed relating to interventions that may help victims of bullying.
This study investigated associations between enrollment in preschool special education and school readiness skills for children with mild to moderate delays. Findings indicated that on average, children who received preschool special education services had lower scores in reading and math in kindergarten than similar children who did not received such service. These results could be due to a range of factors that should be explored further, including the nature of special education services for young children as well as possible differences between the groups of children with and without special education experiences.
This study compared universal (available to all children) and targeted (offered only to children with specific risk factors) Pre-Kindergarten programs. Results showed that two aspects of structural quality (e.g., hours per day and teacher education) were higher in universal programs, but process quality (e.g., child interactions and feedback) was higher in targeted programs. Children’s achievement was not different across programs.
Researchers asked teachers about the factors that influenced their level of adherence to the Responsive Classroom approach and then had teachers, principals, and intervention coaches rate each principal’s “buy-in” to the approach. The coaches’ ratings of principal buy-in were most related to the observed practice of the teachers.
Findings Published in 2012
This study examined associations between classroom quality, amount of instruction in Spanish, and academic learning of Spanish-speaking 4 years-olds. Findings suggest that gains in reading and math were larger when children received more instruction in Spanish in classrooms with more responsive and sensitive teachers. It is possible that instruction in Spanish in high-quality classrooms may enhance the academic skills for children with limited English.
Given the increasing ethnic and language diversity within the United States, this study examined practices that acknowledge and promote diversity in pre-Kindergarten classrooms. Findings indicate that acceptance of diversity is a component of positive environments for young children, particularly in classrooms with high poverty levels where there is ethnic and linguistic diversity.
This study developed the Motor Skills Rating Scale (MSRS), a brief questionnaire for early elementary teachers about children’s motor skills. Three subscales – Shapes and Letters, Classroom Fine Motor, and Body Awareness – were positively associated with children’s cognitive processes and mathematics achievement. Children with higher ratings on the Classroom Fine Motor subscale had higher levels of mathematics achievement.
This study examined the role of fine motor skills and executive function in early achievement in a sample of 213 middle-class kindergarteners. Controlling for executive function, children who had higher levels of fine motor skills, specifically the ability to copy a design, had higher achievement at kindergarten entry. Children with strong fine motor skills also improved more from fall to spring compared to kindergarteners with lower levels of fine motor skills.
Observational assessment is used to study program and teacher effectiveness across large numbers of classrooms, but training a workforce of raters who can assign reliable scores when observations are used in large-scale contexts can be challenging and expensive. This study reports on the success of rater calibration across 2,093 raters trained by the Office of Head Start on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System™.
In a randomized-controlled trial, researchers found that preschool teachers’ use of a print referencing approach to shared storybook reading had significant impacts on children’s early literacy skills (reading, spelling, and comprehension) one and two years after completion of the approach.
This study examined the links between academic resilience in language and literacy and potential qualities of the child and the classroom environment that may protect preschoolers from the negative consequences of risk in the year before they enter formal schooling.
The researchers examined the associations between teachers’ judgments of children’s math skills using an indirect rating scale assessment and children’s performance on two direct assessments of their number sense and geometry and measurement skills.
This study found that teachers who were randomly assigned to take a 14-week course on effective teacher-child interactions demonstrated significant changes in beliefs and knowledge about effective practices and provided more stimulating and engaging interactions in the classroom.
This study examined sources of variability in preschool children’s positive and negative engagement with teachers, peers, and tasks, and how that variability was related to both classroom activity settings and children’s age and gender.
Students’ perceptions of their autonomy in the classroom, their connection with their teacher, and their own academic competence were analyzed to see if their perceptions predicted students’ engagement across the school year.
Researchers investigated whether the Classroom Assessment Scoring System™ reliably characterized prekindergarten classrooms having varying ethnic and language compositions across the instrument’s three domains (Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support).
Two recent studies examined the use of the explicit print referencing strategy with preschoolers in Virginia and Ohio to determine the effect of dose intensity and classroom context on children’s print knowledge.