Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

Skip to main content

School-entry skills predicting school-age academic and social–emotional trajectories


Identifying skills at entry to school that promote academic success has been a major goal for policy and research. The current study categorized school-entry skills as academic (i.e., math and reading skills), cognitive (i.e., language and executive functioning), and social–emotional (i.e., externalizing and internalizing problems) skills and asked to what extent each predicted school-age skills. Data were drawn from the Family Life Project, a representative birth cohort study of 1292 children living in low-wealth rural communities. Children’s academic, cognitive, and social–emotional skills were assessed prior to kindergarten and used to predict longitudinal trajectories in math, reading, language, and social–emotional skills from kindergarten through third grade. Findings indicate that school-entry skills within a given domain were the strongest predictor of the level of school-age skills within that domain, but the magnitude of those associations diminished over time. Higher levels of language and executive function, and lower levels of internalizing problems were the only school-entry skills to predict larger gains in skills during the first four years of elementary school. These results suggest that greater focus on both cognitive and social–emotional skills during early childhood may be warranted. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States
North Carolina; Pennsylvania

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

- You May Also Like

These resources share similarities with the current selection.

School readiness: Academic and social-emotional skills vital to school success

Reports & Papers

Trends in children's academic skills at school entry: 2010 to 2017

Reports & Papers

Trends in children's academic skills at school entry: 2010 to 2017

Reports & Papers
Release: 'v1.36.0' | Built: 2023-09-22 13:54:40 EDT