Predicting kindergarten outcomes from early childhood growth in early literacy/language skills

Predicting kindergarten outcomes from early childhood growth in early literacy/language skills

First Author: Ruth Kaminski -- Acadience Learning
Additional authors/chairs: 
Jacob S. Gray; Roland H. Good
Keywords: Assessment, early childhood (age 4 - 6), Growth Modeling, prevention of reading disabilities, Early Literacy Skills
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose:
This study examined the degree to which growth in early literacy and language skills during the pre-kindergarten year is associated with growth in early literacy skills during kindergarten. It was hypothesized that growth during pre-K would be associated with growth during kindergarten.

Method:
Pre-K skills were assessed using Acadience Reading Pre-K: PELI, and kindergarten skills were assessed using Acadience Reading K-6. The sample consisted of six observations each for 604 students, who were in 50 pre-K classrooms, and then 105 kindergarten classrooms. Growth was modeled with two growth curves, corresponding to Pre-K and kindergarten. Multilevel models were constructed in the Pre-K year to extract student level indicators of Pre-K growth, which were then used as predictors of kindergarten growth.

Results:
Concerning growth in kindergarten Acadience Reading scores, significant variance in beginning-of-year skills was observed across individual students, pre-K classroom, and kindergarten classrooms. There was also significant variability in the growth of student early literacy skills at the student level, the kindergarten classroom level, and the pre-K classroom level. This suggests some degree of “carryover” from pre-K classroom to kindergarten that is associated with kindergarten growth. Pre-K growth indicators of intercept and slope were both positively associated with beginning-of-year kindergarten skills, but neither were associated with kindergarten growth in early literacy skills.

Conclusions:
These results suggest that effective teaching in pre-K has the potential to impact early literacy outcomes, even after the student has moved on from the pre-K setting.