|Title||Explaining achievement gaps in kindergarten and third grade: The role of self-regulation and executive function skills|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Authors||Finders, JK, McClelland, MM, Geldhof, GJ, Rothwell, D, Hatfield, BE|
|Journal||Early Childhood Research Quarterly|
|Pagination||72 - 85|
The present study examines whether teacher-rated self-regulation skills exhibited within the classroom context and directly assessed individual executive function abilities at kindergarten entry uniquely contribute to kindergarten and third grade achievement gaps among children from economically disadvantaged families and Spanish-speaking English-Language learners (ELLs). We used nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten cohort of 2010–2011 (ECLS-K: 2011) in hierarchical nested regression models to describe the achievement gaps and subsequent reductions in the achievement gaps once child covariates, classroom self-regulation, and executive function skills were added to the models. Classroom self-regulation explained a moderate proportion of the kindergarten math and literacy gaps, but only among children from economically disadvantaged families. After accounting for classroom self-regulation, executive function skills explained a more substantial proportion of kindergarten achievement gaps for children from economically disadvantaged families and Spanish-speaking ELLs. Moreover, although executive function skills continued to explain achievement gaps in third grade for both groups, effect sizes were small. Results highlight the independent contribution of classroom self-regulation and individual executive function skills for school readiness gaps in kindergarten among children from economically disadvantaged families and suggest that improving executive function abilities prior to kindergarten could be effective for attenuating initial achievement gaps. Applications to policy and practice are discussed.
|Short Title||Early Childhood Research Quarterly|