Stanford study indicates link between social behavior
and academic success
February 16, 2006
By Angela Hokanson, Bay City News Service
STANFORD (BCN) - A study by researchers from the Stanford
University School of Education published in the January/February
issue of "Child Development" points toward a link between
literacy and social behavior among low-income children, the university
The study, which is titled "Contemporaneous and Longitudinal
Associations Between Social Behavior and Literacy Achievement
in a Sample of Low-Income Elementary School Children," indicates
a correlation between poor literacy skills and aggressive behavior,
and also between good literacy skills and good social skills for
children in certain grade levels.
The study followed a sample of low-income children in kindergarten
through fifth grades on the West Coast.
The study found that children who had low literacy levels in
first grade tended to demonstrate aggressive behavior in third
grade, and that children who had low literacy levels in third
grade generally had aggressive tendencies in the fifth grade.
Conversely, children who had high social skills in first grade
and kindergarten had higher literacy levels up until the third
The correlation between positive social skills and literacy ended
by the fifth grade, a trend that the study's authors were not
able to explain.
The study supports the idea that children's academic and social
development is closely linked, according to the study's authors.
"Children's social behavior can promote or undermine their
learning, and their academic performance may have implications
for their social behavior," said Sarah Miles, a co author
of the study and a doctoral student in the School of Education.
The study also underscores the importance of paying attention
to children's social development in preschool and in the early
grades of elementary school even when academic achievement is
the main goal, the study's authors conclude.
The data utilized in the study includes teachers' assessments
of their students' social behaviors, and data from standardized
The study was co-authored by Deborah Stipek, dean of the Stanford
University School of Education.
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