PREDICTION OF FIRST-GRADE ACHIEVEMENT BY A WELL-USED TEST BATTERY
SACKS, FRED M.
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This study was undertaken in an attempt to improve the efficiency of early identification of individual children with potential learning problems. Two school readiness tests, the First Grade Screening Test (FGST) and Gates-MacGinitie Readiness Skills Test (GMRST), were administered to 148 children at the end of their kindergarten year. The Science Research Associates Achievement Survey (SRA) was administered at the end of the first grade to measure academic competencies in reading, math, and language arts. In addition to the test data on each subject, clinical ratings of first grade readiness were obtained for 124 of the 148 subjects from the private firm of consulting psychologists who had administered the readiness test battery.;It was expected that this study would indicate which specific readiness test variables are best associated with first grade academic achievement and that combinations of predictors could be used to construct predictive equations which would most accurately identify individual children with learning problems when contrasted with the readiness test results and with clinical judgement.;While the Pearson Product-Moment correlation coefficients were all highly significant, stepwise multiple regression analyses minimized the redundancy of the predictor variables and facilitated the selection of three readiness test variables (the GMRST Following Directions, Visual Discrimination, and Auditory Discrimination subtests) which could be optimally combined for prediction of academic achievement in the first grade. However, the combinations of predictor variables were found to be only slightly more efficient as predictors of first grade achievement than were single school readiness test scores.;The predictive equations constructed for this study were found to be more effective predictors of first grade academic success than were the GMRST and FGST. However, the predictive equations were virtually ineffective for the early identification of children with learning problems.;Positive identification of children with learning problems was most efficient when the GMRST total score (representing a composite of seven subtest scores) was used as the predictor. The GMRST accurately identified 67% of the children who evidenced reading failure, 75% of the children who evidenced language arts failure, 89% of the children who evidenced math failure, and 91% of the children who evidenced a composite failure on the SRA at the end of first grade. The GMRST was more effective than the FGST, predictive equations, and clinical judgements in identifying children with learning problems. The GMRST was the best predictor within each SRA area.;It was concluded that we remain limited in predictive efficiency and, because of this, unsure of the effectiveness of the early intervention programs. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.).