Student Behaviors as Predictors of Later Academic Achievement: School Entry Through Fifth Grade

Open Access
McGinnis, Anne Madeline
Graduate Program:
School Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 19, 2009
Committee Members:
  • James Clyde Diperna, Dissertation Advisor
  • James Clyde Diperna, Committee Chair
  • Robert Leslie Hale, Committee Member
  • Richard Hazler, Committee Member
  • Keith B Wilson, Committee Member
  • student behavior
  • academic achievement
  • elementary students
  • prosocial skills
  • approaches to learning
  • problem behaviors
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between student behaviors and academic achievement at various academic time periods, ranging from kindergarten entry through fifth grade. Student behaviors included academically-related behaviors (i.e., approaches to learning), social behaviors (i.e., prosocial behaviors), and problem behaviors (i.e., externalizing and internalizing). It was hypothesized that approaches to learning would demonstrate a moderate relationship with later academic achievement, whereas prosocial skills were expected to demonstrate a small relationship with achievement. Externalizing and internalizing behaviors were hypothesized to have small relationships with achievement. Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) were used. Multiple regression analyses were utilized to test the relationships between student behaviors and achievement. Results indicated that student background characteristics, including prior academic achievement and cognitive skills, had the strongest relationship with academic achievement. Approaches to learning had the most significant relationship with academic achievement when compared with the other behaviors of interest, although this relationship was small. The relationships between prosocial skills, internalizing problem behaviors, and externalizing problem behaviors and later academic achievement were negligible, although these relationships became stronger as students progressed academically. Implications for practice and directions for future research are discussed.