Two recent studies conducted by John Fantuzzo and colleagues looked at the impact of early childhood risks on the educational outcomes for diverse, low-income children.
The first study examined multiple maternal risks on the competencies of diverse, low-income preschoolers and found that a mother’s education accounted for the most variance in children’s cognitive outcomes while chronic maternal depression accounted for the most variance in their pro-social and problem behaviors. Further findings revealed that different combinations of maternal risks were associated with varying outcomes.
The second focused on an entire cohort of second-grade students in a large urban district to understand the timing and influence of the first experiences of maltreatment and homelessness on academic achievement and attendance. Significant among the patterns that emerged were the power of timing (the earlier the exposure, the worse the outcome) and the relative impact of these risks (maltreatment has a more pervasive impact than homelessness).
"A Multivariate Investigation of Maternal Risks and Their Relationship to Low-Income, Preschool Children’s Competencies," by Marlo A. Perry and John W. Fantuzzo, appears in Applied Developmental Science, 14(1).
"Timing and Influence of Early Experiences of Child Maltreatment and Homelessness on Children’s Educational Well-Being," by Staci Perlman and John Fantuzzo, appears in Children and Youth Services Review, 32(6).
Also from John Fantuzzo
The National Research Council has called for researchers to investigate the use of assessment measures in high-stakes evaluations of programs for young, low-income, minority populations. One of those assessments, the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), was originally developed to detect psychiatric syndromes as observed in a largely middle-class, largely Caucasian sample. To determine whether an assessment with that pedigree could be effective when applied to a non-clinical setting and a low-income, minority population, a Penn GSE team examined data from an evaluation of an early intervention that had used the CBCL to assess program impacts on the behavioral adjustment of low-income children. The Penn study found no support for the relevance of CBCL to this particular population; indeed, less than one third of the clinical behaviors included in the CBCL were prevalent in this community-based sample. "Measurement and Population Miss-Fits: A Case Study on the Importance of Using Appropriate Measures to Evaluate Early Childhood Interventions," by Whitney A. LeBoeuf, John Fantuzzo, and Michael L. Lopez , appears in Applied Developmental Science, 14(1).