How Profiles of School Readiness Relate to Third Grade Performance among Low-income Ethnically and Linguistically Diverse Children

Tanya Tavassolie

Major Professor: Adam Winsler, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Tim Curby, Ellen Rowe

David King Hall, #1024
April 26, 2018, 01:30 PM to 03:30 PM

Abstract:

School readiness is a multidimensional, complex construct that includes children’s academic skills and also their environmental circumstances. Starting school ready is crucial for long-term academic success. This dissertation explored how early school readiness profiles predict third grade academic performance among a low-income ethnically diverse sample of children in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sample comes from the Miami School Readiness Project (Winsler et al., 2008, N = 43,044), it is half male (50%), predominantly Latino (56.9%, 36.2% Black, and 6.9% White/other), and mostly poor (80.7% receiving free/reduced lunch in kindergarten and/or 1st grade.). About 5.9% of the sample was enrolled in special education in kindergarten or 1st grade, and 48% were considered English Language Learners. This dissertation used a person-centered approach (i.e. latent profile analysis) and answer the following questions: (1) What number and type of profiles (based on patterns of social, behavioral, language, cognitive, and motor skills) best capture children's school readiness among low-income, ethnically, and linguistically diverse preschoolers? (2) Does membership in these clusters/profiles vary as a function of gender, ethnicity, ELL status, English proficiency, special education, poverty status, and pre-kindergarten type (e.g. pre-kindergarten vs. subsidized childcare)? (3) To what extent do the identified school readiness profiles at age 4 predict academic achievement, high-stakes test performance, and grade retention in 3rd grade, controlling for demographic variables (gender, ethnicity, ELL, English proficiency, special education, poverty, and pre-K type)?