Social-emotional functions in preschool children as a predictive factor of later academic underachievement

Garwood, Paul Andrew
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The present ntudy is a three year longitudinal research project which investigates the effect of social-enotional functioning in preschool children on chair later academic performance at primary school. The aim of this study to assess whether preschool social-emotional functioning was a predicrive factor 'f later acadenic underachie /arent. The variables of social-emotional functioning measured in this study were achievement motivation, the child" s sense of competence, and a two-factor model of social-emotional functioning, namely Interest-Participaticn versus ApathyWithdrawal, and Cocperation- Goipliance versus Anger-Defiance. These variables were assessed in the final year of nursery school. The achievement criteria measured in Grade I were Reading, Arithmetic, Vocabulary and Position in Class, while in Grade II Reading and Arithmetic were. All of the above variables were measured by formal psychometric tests or teacher rating scales. Finally, when the subjects were in nursery school, their intelligence was assessed by the Gcodenough Draw-A-Man test, and only those subjects who vrere within the normal range of intelligence were retained in the study. Three psychuu— cric measures were used in nursery school to assess scoial-enotional functioning. Animal Crackers measures achievement motivation in the school situation, and supplies information on five factors of achievement motivation, namely School Enjcyment, Self Confidence, Purposiveness, Instrumental Activity and Self Evaluation. The Dreyer and Haupt Competence Scale is a teacher behavioural rating scale, and gives a measure of the child's ccrpetence, independence, and ability to cope in the preschool environment. The ICohn Scales are also teacher rating scales, and supply information on two bipolar factors of social-emotional functioning in a preschool setting. Factor I is Interest- Participution versus Apathy-Withdrawal while Factor II is Cooperation-Ccnpliance versus Anger-Defiance. In Factor I, Interest-Participation indicates the extent to which a child displ
A Dissertation sutnitted to the Faculty of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts. Johannesburg 1986