Academic Skills, Not Behavior, Best Predict School Success

Children who enter early education with basic math skills, regardless of any social, emotional or behavioral problems are found to best predict future academic success.

Thursday November 15th - 8:27am

Filed Under: Academic Evaluations

A study published in the November issue of Developmental Psychology shows that children who enter early elementary school with basic math and reading skills are more likely to achieve later academic success – regardless of any social, emotional, or behavioral problems they may have, such as attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD).

The study, which included the analysis data from more than 35,000 preschoolers, controlled for IQ, family income, gender, temperament, and type of previous educational experiences and whether children came from single or two parent families. Children who had mastered early math concepts by the time they started school were found to be the best predictors of later academic success.

What surprised researchers the most was the lack of association between social and emotional behaviors and later academic learning for both boys and girls from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Greg Duncan of Northwestern University, and the study’s primary author said, “The paramount importance of early math skills -- of beginning school with a knowledge of numbers, number order and other rudimentary math concepts -- is one of the puzzles coming out of the study.”

“Mastery of early math skills predicts not only future math achievement, it also predicts future reading achievement,” Duncan said. “And it does so just as reliably as early literacy mastery of vocabulary, letters and phonetics predicts later reading success.”

However, reading skills predicting math success does not hold true.

Copyright © 1998 - 2013 New Hope Media LLC. All rights reserved. Your use of this site is governed by our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
ADDitude does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only. See additional information.
New Hope Media, 39 W. 37th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10018