Saturday, May 10, 2008

So Now I Can’t Even Hold That Against the Bastards

From the March 2008 NEA Today:

Little Johnny is only in kindergarten and already picks fights, interrupts his classmates, defies your orders—you’re completely worn out after a day with him. But at least now you don’t need to worry so much about his academic future. It turns out, children like Johnny do just as well academically five years later as the little joys who behave themselves.

The good news comes from a study, published in the journal Developmental Psychology, that followed students from their first days of school through the intermediate grades, recording their math and reading skills, attention level (how well they persist at a task), and whether they were disruptive and antisocial.

Early academic skills predicted later achievement the best. Attention (or persistence) also predicted later achievement, but not as strongly. Defiance and other antisocial behaviors had little or no predictive value—quite a surprise!
It’s not the result I would have expected from a longitudinal study, but in reflecting about it I haven’t taught many kids with behavior problems who haven’t also been struggling academically.

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