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URAP Presentation - Leigh McLean

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Hello! My name is Leigh McLean. I'm a graduating senior in Human Development and Family Sciences. I'm very much looking forward to going to graduate school next year in Developmental Psychology at the Florida State University. For the past three years I've been working on Dr. Megan McClelland's ongoing "Kindergarten Readiness Study", which focuses on self-regulation development in early childhood. For my URAP project this year, I looked at family income and how it affects self-regulation development in pre-kindergarteners. So, the most common question I get at first is what is self-regulation? And basically self-regulation is a child's ability to follow directions on tasks, switch successfully between tasks, regulate their emotions, and just focus on material being presented to them. And what we found in the "Kindergarten Readiness Study" is that there are huge links between self-regulation development and later academic success in children. So, this really is a huge predictor of how children do later in school and specifically for my project, as I said I looked at family income and how that affects a child's development of self-regulation. This year we collected data from both low- and high-income families, about half and half. The low-income families were identified as low-income through their participation in the Head Start program, which has specific requirements of income for the children. So, we used six tasks in assessing the young children. Three were Woodcock-Johnson tests of achievement, which are very basic vocabulary, reading, and math tests. And then we also used three self-regulation tasks. Tasks specifically for self-regulation. The main one being the "Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders" task developed by Dr. McClelland and her colleagues. And we also did the DCCS card sort task, which deals with switching roles halfway through the game, and then the Day/Night Stroop task, which deals with opposites. And all of those are great tasks for measuring self-regulation. What we found was what we predicted, that the low-income children, the children from low-income families, had significantly lower scores on these tests than their higher income counterparts. What this means is that early experience in the family setting really seems to affect how children develop their self-regulation, even before the very beginning of pre-school. A lot of people think that pre-school is where you go to learn and to catch up with all your friends, and that school is the great equalizer but really we're finding that these children starting pre-school, these low-income children starting pre-school, already are significantly behind their high-income counterparts So that's the take home message. That early experiences are incredibly important to later academic achievement.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 51 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 65
Posted by: osuhhs on Aug 3, 2010

URAP Presentation - Leigh McLean

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