Title

Predicting Academic School Readiness and Risk Status from Different Assessment Approaches and Constructs of Early Self-Regulation

Publication Name

Child and Youth Care Forum

Abstract

Background: Over the past few decades early self-regulation has been identified as foundational to positive learning and wellbeing trajectories. As a consequence, a wide range of approaches have been developed to capture children’s developmental progress in self-regulation. Little is known, however, about whether and which of these are reliable indicators of future ability and risk for young children. Objective: This study examined measures from prominent approaches to self-regulation assessment (i.e., task-based, observation, adult-report) to determine: their structure; how these predict future academic school readiness in 3–5-year-old children, individually and if combined; and whether thresholds could be ascertained to reliably discriminate those children at risk of poor academic outcomes. Methods: Longitudinal analyses were conducted on start-of-year self-regulation data from 217 children in the final year of pre-school, using three prominent approaches to self-regulation assessment, and their end-of-year school readiness data. Data were subjected to path analysis, structural equation modelling and receiver operating characteristic curve analyses. Results: Start-of-year cognitive self-regulation indices—but not behavioral or emotional self-regulation indices—from each approach reliably predicted school readiness 7 months later, just prior to commencing school. Only when combined into a composite score was a threshold with sufficient sensitivity and specificity for predicting school readiness risk established; yet this provided better prediction of true-negative than true-positive cases. Conclusions: Taken together, these results suggest the importance of cognitive self-regulation in particular for school readiness, as measured here, although self-regulation is just one of the contributing factors to school readiness risk.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Number

DE170100412

Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10566-021-09636-y