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Patterns of School Readiness Forecast Achievement and Socioemotional Development at the End of Elementary School


  • The work reported in this article was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) through a cooperative agreement (U10-25449) that calls for a scientific collaboration between the grantees and NICHD staff. The first author was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305B040049 to the University of Virginia.

concerning this article should be addressed to Terri J. Sabol, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, 2200 Old Ivy Way, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Electronic mail may be sent to


A person-oriented approach examined patterns of functioning in social and executive function domains at 54 months and in turn forecasted 5th-grade socioemotional and achievement outcomes for 944 children. Six distinct profiles of 54-month school readiness patterns predicted outcomes in 5th grade with indications of cross-domain association between 54-month performance and later functioning. A group of children at 54 months characterized by low working memory exhibited elevated levels of socioemotional problems and low achievement in 5th grade. Patterns in which high social competence or high working memory were prominent predicted high 5th-grade achievement. Unexpectedly, a group distinguished by attention problems performed well on later achievement outcomes. After controlling for children’s early demographics, readiness profiles accounted for math achievement in 5th grade.