The link between cognition and academic achievement has been examined for over a century, with evidence indicating cognition as a strong predictor of achievement. However, most of what we know regarding the relation between early cognitive processes and achievement comes from research on primarily Caucasian children or low-income African American children. The proposed research focuses on examining African American children across a broad range of socioeconomic statuses (SES), avoiding the inherent confound in examination of only low-income African American children. In the proposed research, school entry cognitive processes (fluid reasoning, executive functioning, and crystallized knowledge) are examined within the context of classroom quality (emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support) and student- teacher relationships (warmth and conflict) to elucidate determinants of early reading and math achievement among an economically diverse sample of African American children. The research, which takes both a variable-centered as well as a person-centered approach to the analyses, will be conducted using data obtained from an economically diverse sample of approximately 200 children studied in their pre-K year and then again in their kindergarten year. The proposed research will have a significant impact on improving educational outcomes in African American children by enhancing our understanding of the child x environment processes that influence early reading and math achievement in this underserved population. Results of the research can be used in developing treatments, interventions, or policies concerning early childhood development and education for this understudied population, thereby contributing to enhancing the health and outcomes of children in this nation.

Public Health Relevance

The rationale for this project is that identification of determinants of early academic achievement among an economically diverse sample of African American children can be used in developing treatments, interventions, or policies concerning early childhood development and education for this understudied population, thereby contributing to enhancing the health and outcomes of children in this nation. This study will therefore have significant impact on the developmental outcomes of young children, while also providing undergraduates an opportunity to acquire hands-on research training.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) (R15)
Project #
1R15HD077511-01A1
Application #
8761788
Study Section
Cognition and Perception Study Section (CP)
Program Officer
Griffin, James
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Spelman College
Department
None
Type
University-Wide
DUNS #
City
Atlanta
State
GA
Country
United States
Zip Code
30314