How well are Australian children doing in the first year of school : a demographic analysis

Berthelsen, Donna C. & Walker, Sue (2009) How well are Australian children doing in the first year of school : a demographic analysis. In XIV European Conference on Developmental Psychology, August 18-22, 2009, Vilnius, Lithuania. (Unpublished)

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Background: The transition to school is a sensitive period for children in relation to school success. In the early school years, children need to develop positive attitudes to school and have experiences that promote academic, behavioural and social competence. When children begin school there are higher expectations of responsibility and independence and in the year one class, there are more explicit academic goals for literacy and numeracy and more formal instruction. Most importantly, children’s early attitudes to learning and learning styles have an impact on later educational outcomes. Method: Data were drawn from The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). LSAC is a cross-sequential cohort study funded by the Australian Government. In these analyses, Wave 2 (2006) data for 2499 children in the Kindergarten Cohort were used. Children, at Wave 2, were in the first year of formal school. They had a mean age of 6.9 years (SD= 0.26). Measures included a 6-item measure of Approaches to Learning (task persistence, independence) and the Academic Rating Scales for language and literacy and mathematical thinking. Teachers rated their relationships with children on the short form of the STRS. Results: Girls were rated by their teachers as doing better than boys on Language and literacy, Approaches to learning; and they had a better relationship with their teacher. Children from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island (ATSI) background were rated as doing less well on Language and Literacy and Mathematical thinking and on their Approaches to learning. Children from high Socio Economic Position families are doing better on teacher rated Language and Literacy, Mathematical thinking, Approaches to learning and they had a better relationship with their teacher. Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of key demographic variables in understanding children’s early school success.

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ID Code: 27533
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Early Years Education, Transition to School, Academic Achievement, School Adjustment, LSAC
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 the authors.
Deposited On: 24 Sep 2009 02:42
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2015 02:26

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