2020-2-26 English Reading.

Children with attention problems in early childhood were 40% less likely to graduate from high school, says a new study from Duke University.

The study included 386 kindergarteners from schools in the Fast Track Project, a multi-site clinical trial in the U. S. that in 1991 began tracking how children developed across their lives.
clinical trial 临床试验

With this study, researchers examined early academic attention and socio-emotional skills and how each contributed to academic success into young adulthood.
early academic attention 早期学习注意力

They found that early attention skills were the most consistent predictor of academic success, and that likability by peers also had a modest effect on academic performance.
most consistent predictor 最一致的预测
peers 同辈
这里的 likability by peers 和上文的 socio-emotional skills 对应,大概就是比较会做关系、和同辈|同行之间关系比较好

By fifth grade, children with early attention difficulties had lower grades and reading achievement scores than their peers. As fifth-graders, children with early attention problems obtained average reading scores at least 3% lower than their contemporaries’ and grades at least 8% lower than those of their peers. This was after controlling for IQ, socio-economic status and academic skills at school entry.

Although these may not seem like large effects, the impact of early attention problems continued throughout the children’s academic careers. Lower reading achievement scores and grades in fifth grade contributed to reduced grades in middle school and thereby contributed to a 40% lower high school graduation rate.

“The children we identified as having attention difficulties were not diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (注意力缺乏多动症)(ADHD), although some may have had the disorder. Our findings suggest that even more modest attention difficulties can increase the risk of negative academic outcomes”, said David Rabiner, an associate dean of Duke’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, whose research has focused on ADHD and interventions to improve academic performance in children with attention difficulties.

Social acceptance by peers in early childhood also predicted grades in fifth grade. Children not as liked by their first-grade peers had slightly lower grades in fifth grade, while those with higher social acceptance had higher grades.

“This study shows the importance of so-called ‘non-cognitive’ or soft skills in contributing to children’s positive peer relationships, which, in turn, contribute to their academic success, ” said Kenneth Dodge, director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy.

The results highlight the need to develop effective early interventions to help those with attention problems stay on track academically and for educators to encourage positive peer relationships, the researchers said.


We’re learning that student success requires a more comprehensive approach, one that incorporates not only academic skills but also social, self-regulatory and attention skills, ” Dodge said. “If we neglect any of these areas, the child’s development lags. If we attend to these areas, a child’s success may reinforce itself with positive feedback loops. “