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J Educ Psychol. 2009 Feb 1;101(1):190-206.

Continuity and Change in Early School Engagement: Predictive of Children's Achievement Trajectories from First to Eighth Grade?

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School of Social and Family Dynamics and Department of Psychology, Arizona State University.


Premises about the effects of early engagement on achievement were investigated with 383 children who were followed from ages 5.5 to 13.5. Change and continuity in behavioral (cooperative-resistant classroom participation) and emotional (school liking-avoidance) engagement were assessed during Grades 1-3 and examined within variable- and person-oriented analyses as antecedents of scholastic progress from Grades 1-8. Findings corroborated the premises that change as well as continuity in early school engagement is predictive of children's long-term scholastic growth. Compared to children who participated cooperatively in classrooms, those who became increasingly resistant across the primary grades displayed lesser scholastic growth. Among children who manifested enduring engagement patterns, those who exhibited a combination of higher behavioral and emotional engagement across the primary grades made greater academic progress than those who displayed lower levels of these two forms of engagement. Overall, the results of this investigation were consistent with the school engagement hypothesis, and extend what is known about the predictive contributions of early school engagement to children's achievement.

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