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    Transitioning from kindergarten to primary school: Exploring the links between children’s self-regulation skills, socio-emotional competence, and academic outcomes
    (Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 2024) ;
    Bull, Rebecca
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    ;
    Ang, Marlene
    The transition to formal learning in primary school is an important developmental milestone. In comparison to the more informal setting in preschool classrooms, the primary school classroom typically imposes considerably greater expectations for children to direct and sustain their attention toward academic work. Given that learning in school occurs through social interactions, children who are able to regulate their emotions and maintain positive relationships with peers and teachers also adapt better to the new environment. Collectively, the cognitive and socio-emotional competencies that facilitate children’s transition to formal schooling are known as school readiness skills. Many studies have shown that these skills, including early academic skills, self-regulation skills and social competencies predict later school success.
      15  46
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Accounting for the SES-math achievement gap at school entry: Unique mediation paths via executive functioning and behavioral self-regulation
    (2021) ;
    Bull, Rebecca
    ;
    Childhood socioeconomic status (SES) is strongly predictive of math achievement in early childhood and beyond. In this study, we aimed to further our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the SES-achievement gap by examining whether two aspects of self-regulation—executive functions (EF) and behavioral self-regulation (BSR)—mediate between SES and math achievement. Using data from a longitudinal study in Singapore (n = 1,257, 49% males), we examined the predictive link from SES to math achievement at entry to formal education (age 7), and the role of EF (child-assessed) and BSR (child-assessed and teacher-rated) as mediators of the SES-math achievement relationship. After accounting for children’s non-verbal reasoning and prior math achievement, EF and BSR (both child-assessed) emerged as significant partial mediators between SES and math. A key contribution of our study is in demonstrating that both components of self-regulation play a small role in explaining SES disparities in math achievement. Our findings further suggest that a balanced focus on enhancing EF and BSR skills of children from low-SES families may help to attenuate the SES-math achievement gap. More generally, our research contributes new insights to the ongoing debate about the theoretical distinctions between EF and BSR.
      106  89
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    Screening for executive function difficulties: An evaluation of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-2nd Edition Screener, Teacher Report (BRIEF2-TS)
    (2023) ; ;
    Bull, Rebecca
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    ; ;
    Chan, Wei Teng
    Executive functions (EFs) correlate positively with many developmental outcomes, and ecologically valid measures of EFs may be more predictive of some outcomes than performance-based measures. Accordingly, there is a need to evaluate short EF rating scales, such as the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-2nd Edition Screener, Teacher Report (BRIEF2-TS). Data from 1,322 kindergarten children in Singapore (50% girls; 61.3% Chinese, 10.6% Malay, 16.3% Indian, 4.0% other ethnicity, and 7.8% did not report their ethnicity), followed for 3 years, were used to examine the multilevel factor structure, gender and longitudinal invariance, reliability, and concurrent and predictive validity of BRIEF2-TS scores. Results indicated a two-factor within-level structure (11 items; cognitive and emotional–behavioral regulation) that was at least partially invariant across gender and time. Concurrent validity with direct EF measures and ratings of self-regulation, and predictive validity for socioemotional and academic skills were good. Overall, BRIEF2-TS scores showed evidence for good validity and reliability. Future research should consider correlates of the between-level structure and further consider structure and validity in clinical samples. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved)
    Scopus© Citations 2  80
  • Publication
    Metadata only
    The development of early arithmetic skills: What, when, and how?
    Arithmetic skills – the ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide – are the building blocks of mathematics. Poor arithmetic skills can lead to poor job prospects and life outcomes. It is thus important to investigate the development of arithmetic skills. What constitute the foundations for arithmetic skills? When do they develop? Previous studies have highlighted the importance of the toddler and preschool period as providing foundations for later math learning. In this chapter, we provide an overview of key factors across domain-specific and domain-general areas that support the development of arithmetic skills. We then draw on existing data from the Singapore Kindergarten Impact Project (SKIP) and describe the performance of basic numeracy skills at entry to kindergarten that are relevant for arithmetic learning. These skills include counting, informal arithmetic, and the reading and writing of Arabic digits. Finally, we conclude with guidelines for promoting the development of early mathematical knowledge in the classroom and at home.
      335
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Fine motor and executive functioning skills predict maths and spelling skills at the start of kindergarten: A compensatory account
    Research shows that executive functions (EF) and fine motor skills (FMS) contribute to early academic skills, possibly in overlapping ways. We examine whether and how EF and FMS interact in the concurrent prediction of maths, reading and spelling skills at the start of kindergarten. Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) on data from 1248 five-year-olds supports a compensatory account of EF and FMS in contributing towards maths and spelling skills. Controlling for socio-economic status, age, time spent in kindergarten and intelligence, the influence of EF on spelling achievement was larger for children with poorer compared to better FMS, and vice versa; FMS significantly predicted maths achievement only in children with high but not low EF, and vice versa. Identifying EF or FMS difficulties at or before the start of kindergarten may be important. Different approaches to intervention involving EF and FMS may be appropriate for maths versus spelling skills. We suggest for early childhood curricula to enhance opportunities for FMS development, especially for children who enter kindergarten with poor FMS.
    WOS© Citations 4Scopus© Citations 6  155  135