Journal of Educational Psychology

  • Pressure points in reading comprehension: A quantile multiple regression analysis.
    The goal of this study was to examine how selected pressure points or areas of vulnerability are related to individual differences in reading comprehension and whether the importance of these pressure points varies as a function of the level of children’s reading comprehension. A sample of 245 third-grade children were given an assessment battery that included multiple measures of vocabulary, grammar, higher-level language ability, word reading, working memory, and reading comprehension. Ordinary least squares (OLS) and quantile regression analyses were undertaken. OLS regression analyses indicated that all variables except working memory accounted for unique variance in reading comprehension. However, quantile regression showed that the extent of the relationships varied in some cases across readers of different ability levels. Results suggest that quantile regression may be a useful approach for the study of reading in both typical and atypical readers and aid greater specification of componential models of reading comprehension across the ability range. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Cognitive and environmental correlates of rapid automatized naming in Chinese kindergarten children.
    Although rapid automatized naming (RAN) is one of the best predictors of reading across languages, its nature remains elusive. In the present study, we aim to elucidate the nature of RAN by examining the cognitive and environmental correlates of RAN. One hundred forty-one second-year kindergarten Chinese children (71 girls, 70 boys; mean age = 58.99 months) were assessed on measures of nonverbal cognitive ability, attention, visual processing, conceptual processing, semantic processing, phonological processing, short-term memory, articulation, speed of processing, RAN (digits and objects), and discrete naming. We also collected information on mothers’ education and occupation, and children’s home learning experiences. The results showed that formal home learning experiences, visual processing, phonological processing, and articulation were unique correlates of both RAN tasks. Semantic processing also correlated significantly with RAN objects. However, controlling for the effects of discrete naming eliminated the effects of most subprocesses on RAN. These findings suggest that RAN is indeed multicomponential, but not all components contribute the same way to RAN performance. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • The importance of additive reasoning in children’s mathematical achievement: A longitudinal study.
    This longitudinal study examines the relative importance of counting ability, additive reasoning, and working memory in children’s mathematical achievement (calculation and story problem solving). In Hong Kong, 115 Chinese children aged 6 years old participated in 2 waves of assessments (T1 = first grade and T2 = second grade). Multiple regression analyses showed that counting ability explained a significant amount of variance in T1 and T2 calculation beyond the effects of age, IQ, and working memory, in which conceptual knowledge of counting, but not procedural counting, was a unique predictor. However, counting ability did not contribute significantly to story problem solving at both time points. Additive reasoning explained a substantial and significant amount of variance in calculation and story problem solving at both time points after the effects of age, IQ, working memory, and counting ability were controlled for: Both knowledge of the commutativity and complement principles were unique predictors. Working memory also accounted for a significant amount of variance in calculation and story problem solving at both time points beyond the influence of age, IQ, counting ability, and additive reasoning. Among the 3 components of working memory, only the central executive was a unique predictor for all measures of mathematical achievement. Autoregressive analyses provided further evidence for the strong predictive powers of additive reasoning and working memory. Overall, additive reasoning accounted for the greatest amount of variance in mathematical achievement both concurrently and longitudinally. This finding underscores the importance of additive reasoning in children’s mathematical development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • The codevelopment of children’s fraction arithmetic skill and fraction magnitude understanding.
    The importance of fraction knowledge to later mathematics achievement, along with U.S. students’ poor knowledge of fraction concepts and procedures, has prompted research on the development of fraction learning. In the present study, participants’ (N = 536) development of fraction magnitude understanding and fraction arithmetic skills was assessed over 4 time points between 4th and 6th grades. Latent state-trait modeling was used to examine codevelopment of these 2 areas of fraction knowledge. Fraction arithmetic skill predicted later fraction magnitude understanding, and conversely, fraction magnitude understanding predicted later fraction arithmetic skill. The results are consistent with a bidirectional model of the development of fraction concepts and procedures, in which knowledge of one type facilitates learning of the other type. However, transfer in both directions between fraction arithmetic skill and fraction magnitude understanding was more likely to occur later in the development of fraction knowledge, after fraction arithmetic with unlike denominators had been taught in school (during 5th grade in the current sample). Furthermore, the effects of previous knowledge of the other type were small and not nearly as substantial as the effects of previous knowledge on later knowledge of the same type. Findings suggest a need for instruction to link fraction magnitude understanding to fraction arithmetic skill and vice versa. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Component processes in arithmetic word-problem solving and their correlates.
    Arithmetic word-problem solving is an important component of elementary mathematics curricula that links school mathematics to real-life problem solving. The present 3-year longitudinal study examined children’s arithmetic word-problem solving through understanding its 2 component processes: number-sentence construction and computation. Chinese first graders (n = 153) were tested on their arithmetic word-problem solving, in which they wrote down the number sentences before they solved the problems. They were also given a parallel test of arithmetic computation. Various cognitive predictors and mathematical outcomes were assessed. It was found that the children’s difficulty in solving arithmetic word problems lay more with writing number sentences rather than in computation. The results from path analysis showed that word reading and various numerical-magnitude processing and domain-general skills significantly predicted arithmetic computation whereas only domain-general skills significantly predicted number-sentence construction. Both number-sentence construction and computation significantly predicted future arithmetic computation and mathematics achievement even after controlling for previous arithmetic computation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • A multilevel examination of racial disparities in high school discipline: Black and white adolescents’ perceived equity, school belonging, and adjustment problems.
    National data have shown for decades that Black students experience more frequent and severe disciplinary actions that remove them from school (e.g., suspension), compared with their White peers. Despite extensive research documenting the sequelae associated with suspension (e.g., school drop-out and delinquency), there has been relatively scant research addressing the discipline gap as it relates to students’ sense of belonging and equitable treatment at school, or to potential adjustment problems it may evoke. The present observational study examined the Black–White discipline gap in 58 high schools with a sample of 19,726 adolescents (Black n = 7,064, White n = 12,622) in Maryland. Employing a multilevel framework and leveraging data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and the student-report Maryland Safe and Supportive Schools (MDS3) School Climate Survey, we characterized 58 high schools by their excess in Black relative to White student risk of out-of-school suspension. We then assessed whether Black students’ excess risk of out-of-school suspension was negatively associated with perceived school equity and school belonging, and positively associated with adjustment problems (i.e., externalizing symptoms) in a stratified analysis of White and Black students. We found that school-level discipline gaps were associated with Black students’ perceptions of less school equity (γ = −.54, p < .001), less school belonging (γ = −.50, p < .001), and increased adjustment problems (γ = .77, p < .001), even when accounting for student demographics (i.e., gender, grade level, socioeconomic status) and school-level contextual factors (i.e., socioeconomic status, student diversity, overall suspension rates), whereas these associations were not significant for White students. Study findings have implications for educational reform in high schools in which out-of-school suspension practices differ by race. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Teacher behavior and peer liking and disliking: The teacher as a social referent for peer status.
    According to social referencing theory, cues peers take from positive and negative teacher behavior toward a student affect the student’s peer liking and disliking status. The present study was the first to test the hypothesized mediation model connecting teacher behavior with peer liking and disliking status, via peer perceptions of teacher liking and disliking for the student. We used a longitudinal design and controlled for peer perceptions of student behavior. A sample of 1,420 5th-grade students (Mage = 10.60) from 56 classes completed sociometric questionnaires at 3 time points within 1 school year. At the first time point video data was also recorded, and teacher behavior toward specific students was coded. A multilevel path analysis showed that teachers did function as social referents for peer status but only through their negative behavior toward a student. Negative teacher behavior was associated with peer perceptions of the teacher’s disliking for the student 3 months later, which in turn predicted peers’ disliking of the student 6 months later. Findings suggest that teachers play a prominent role in peer relationships, particularly in peer disliking. For practice, this suggests that it may be important for teachers to refrain from openly negative behavior toward students, particularly those at risk of peer rejection. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Extending attribution theory: Considering students’ perceived control of the attribution process.
    Research in attribution theory has shown that students’ causal thinking profoundly affects their learning and motivational outcomes. Very few studies, however, have explored how students’ attribution-related beliefs influence the causal thought process. The present study used the perceived control of the attribution process (PCAP) model to examine the motivational impact of these beliefs. PCAP consists of 2 subconstructs: perceived control of attributions (PCA), which refers to students’ perceived capability to influence attributional thought and awareness of motivational consequences of attributions (AMC), which refers to students’ understanding that attributions have behavioral and psychological consequences. We pursued 4 research goals and found evidence to support the following: (a) PCA and AMC are structurally independent beliefs; (b) PCA and AMC are differentially related to motivational outcomes; (c) levels of PCA and AMC vary significantly between controllable and uncontrollable events; and (d) the validity of the PCAP model where PCA and AMC related to cognitive reappraisal strategies, which, in turn, mediated a path toward an adaptive attribution style, autonomy, and subjective well-being. Students who adopted PCA and AMC experienced more favorable motivational outcomes than students who adopted 1 or neither of the beliefs. The results suggest that these attribution-related beliefs enhance the quality of students’ causal thinking and help to sustain a sense of autonomy and well-being. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

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