Key academic enablers can affect the social and academic performance of children over the long term. These are things like the attitudes and behaviours of children – motivation, interpersonal skills and study skills – which facilitate participation in the classroom.
A Brisbane study involving 360 Year 3 and Year 5 students from 36 primary schools found that academic enablers were significant predictors of NAPLAN scores. These findings were based on teacher ratings*. The advantage here is that, teachers have many opportunities to evaluate students. So unlike most achievement tests, their conclusions are based on repeat observations of student performance over a length of time. Also, this allows teachers to screen for learning difficulties so that intervention if necessary, can take place early.
Interesting. Let’s take a look at other research that highlights the predictive relationship between a child’s social behaviour and their long term academic achievement:
  • The prosocial skills of Year 3 students strongly predicted the academic achievements in Year 8 – more so than Year 3 achievement test scores (Caprara et al., 2000)
  • Social skills and problem behaviours tended to be significant predictors of academic achievement (Malecki & Elliott, 2002)
  • Prior achievement and interpersonal skills influence motivation, which in turn promotes study skills and engagement, ultimately influencing achievement (DiPerna, Volpe, & Elliott, 2002, 2005)
  • A kindergarten measure of social and emotional skills was highly predictive of young adult outcomes across domains of: education, employment, criminal activity, substance use and mental health (Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015)
There you have it. A summary of:
Kettler, R. J., Elliott, S. N., Davies, M., Griffin, P. (2011). Testing a multi-stage screening system: predicting performance on Australia’s national achievement test using teachers’ ratings of academic and social behaviours. School Psychology International, 33(1).
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* Performance Screening Guides – measuring students’ skills against grade-level expectations in reading, maths, motivation to learn and prosocial skills and Rating Scales – measuring social skills and behaviours (as well as a brief assessment of academic competence).