Strengthening school readiness for children at risk : evaluating self-regulation measures and an intervention using classroom games Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/h702q9720

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  • In recent years, self-regulation has emerged as a foundational skill for academic success and well-being. Unfortunately, many children enter kindergarten without the self-regulation skills necessary to succeed. Children from high-risk backgrounds (e.g., low-income) are particularly vulnerable for difficulties in self-regulation development. Given these documented gaps in self-regulation, it has become critical to first identify children at risk for poor self-regulation and then work to improve these critical skills prior to school entry. This dissertation includes two studies that focus on strengthening self-regulation and school readiness for children at risk. The first study addressed measurement inconsistencies in the field by investigating the predictive utility among teacher-rated, observed, and directly assessed self-regulation skills to academic achievement in preschoolers. Results indicated significant, positive relationships for teacher-rated and directly assessed self-regulation for early math and literacy skills. Domain specific patterns emerged in our measurement comparisons in that teacher ratings were the strongest predictors of literacy, and the direct assessment was the strongest predictor of math. Observed behavioral self-regulation was not significantly related to either academic domain. Study 2 examined if children who participated in an 8-week intervention demonstrated greater gains in self-regulation and academic achievement over the preschool year compared to children in a control group. In addition, indirect intervention effects on achievement outcomes through self-regulation were explored. Finally, differential intervention effects for English language learners within a sample of children from low-income families were tested. Results indicated that children in the intervention group demonstrated greater gains in self-regulation over the preschool year compared to the control group. In addition, although there were no significant direct effects of the intervention on academic skills in the full sample, significant indirect intervention effects emerged on spring achievement through self-regulation. Finally, group comparisons revealed that the intervention was related to significant gains in math for children who were English language learners. Taken together, findings from the studies in this dissertation inform our understanding of self-regulation measurement and intervention, which is critical for helping children at risk for poor school readiness.
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