School readiness skills in kindergarten have been linked with later academic and social achievement; promoting these skills may be a way to help prevent later concerns. A first step is to define school readiness and identify those skills that are most important for later school success. The current dissertation took a two-study approach to measuring school readiness in kindergarten. Study one proposed a model for measuring school readiness in the fall of kindergarten, comprised of developmental and early academic formative measures. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) techniques were used to test five nested models proposed to explain school readiness. A two factor cross loading indicators model, comprised of achievement in developmental milestones and early academic skills, appeared to provide the best explanation of school readiness in the fall of kindergarten. Study two examined which of those school readiness skills across the kindergarten year best predicted end of kindergarten early academic achievement. Developmental milestones were measured through composite scores, based upon findings from the first study, as well as early reading and early math measures. Path analysis techniques were used to examine the variance accounted for in springtime early academic skills by fall and winter early academic and development skills. Developmental milestones did not appear to provide additional predictive value for end of kindergarten early academic skills, after accounting for beginning of kindergarten early academic skills. The results of these two studies support a clear definition and efficient measurement approach for school readiness skills in kindergarten. Limitations, future research, and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2016. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisor: Theodore Christ. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 178 pages.
Defining and Measuring School Readiness using Confirmatory Factor Analysis Techniques.
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