Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Ed.S.

Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Department

Education

Degree Granting Department

Educational and Psychological Studies

Major Professor

Julia Ogg, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.

Keywords

early literacy achievement, early math achievement, kindergarten, social-emotional strengths, strength-based assessment

Abstract

Social-emotional competence has received increased attention as being critical to a student's success in the classroom. Social-emotional strengths are multidimensional and include assets such as social competence, self-regulation, empathy, and responsibility; however, previous research has not investigated which of these strengths contribute most to a student's academic success. Additionally, limited research has investigated the use of multiple informants (e.g., parents and teachers) to determine whose perceptions are more predictive of academic achievement in kindergarten students. This study examined the relationship between social-emotional strengths, as rated by parents and teachers on the SEARS (Merrell, 2011), and academic outcomes, using the AIMSweb Tests of Early Literacy (Shinn & Shinn, 2008) and Missing Number Fluency (Clarke & Shinn, 2004b), in kindergarten students (n = 154). A moderate, positive relationship between parent and teacher ratings of social-emotional strengths was obtained. When prior achievement was removed from the regression equation, social competence, as measured by parents, was the only significant predictor of current achievement in early literacy. No social-emotional strength, as rated by parents, was a significant predictor of early math achievement regardless of including or removing prior achievement from the regression equation. Additionally, teacher-rated total strengths were predictive of current achievement in reading, when controlling for prior achievement, and for math, when prior achievement was removed from the equation. Teacher ratings of total strengths were thus found to be more predictive than parent ratings of academic achievement in reading, but not math. Implications of findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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