Predictors of Poor School Readiness in Children Without Developmental Delay at Age 2

Published in: Pediatrics, v. 138, no. 2, Aug. 2016, p. 1-14

Posted on RAND.org on August 29, 2016

by Bergen B. Nelson, Rebecca N. Dudovitz, Tumaini Coker, Elizabeth S. Barnert, Christopher Biely, Ning Li, Peter G. Szilagyi, Kandyce Larson, Neal Halfon, Frederick J. Zimmerman, et al.

Read More

Access further information on this document at Pediatrics

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Current recommendations emphasize developmental screening and surveillance to identify developmental delays (DDs) for referral to early intervention (EI) services. Many young children without DDs, however, are at high risk for poor developmental and behavioral outcomes by school entry but are ineligible for EI. We developed models for 2-year-olds without DD that predict, at kindergarten entry, poor academic performance and high problem behaviors. METHODS: Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), were used for this study. The analytic sample excluded children likely eligible for EI because of DDs or very low birth weight. Dependent variables included low academic scores and high problem behaviors at the kindergarten wave. Regression models were developed by using candidate predictors feasibly obtainable during typical 2-year well-child visits. Models were cross-validated internally on randomly selected subsamples. RESULTS: Approximately 24% of all 2-year-old children were ineligible for EI at 2 years of age but still had poor academic or behavioral outcomes at school entry. Prediction models each contain 9 variables, almost entirely parental, social, or economic. Four variables were associated with both academic and behavioral risk: parental education below bachelor's degree, little/no shared reading at home, food insecurity, and fair/poor parental health. Areas under the receiver-operating characteristic curve were 0.76 for academic risk and 0.71 for behavioral risk. Adding the mental scale score from the Bayley Short Form–Research Edition did not improve areas under the receiver-operating characteristic curve for either model. CONCLUSIONS: Among children ineligible for EI services, a small set of clinically available variables at age 2 years predicted academic and behavioral outcomes at school entry.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.