Fine motor skills and the prediction of academic, social/emotional, and behavioral competence in kindergarten

Kramer, Anne Jackson, Clinical Psychology Program, University of Virginia
Reeve, Ron, CU-Human Svcs, University of Virginia
Loyd, Brenda H., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Pianta, Robert, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Prior research into the topic of “school readiness” has indicated that a child's level of motor skill development at school entry is a primary factor in his or her academic, behavioral, and social success in kindergarten.

The present: study examined the relative contributions of Visual-motor skills and manual dexterity top effective Functioning in kindergarten. The relationships of manual dexterity, visual-motor skill, and verbal intelligence to the variables of math and reading achievement, retention decisions, and behavioral and social competence were examined.

Subjects were 58 students entering kindergarten for the First time. Motor skills were assessed in the late summer and fall of the kindergarten year; outcome measures were gathered in the late winter of that year.

It was found that, in comparisons of visual-motor skills with manual dexterity, it is visual-motor skill that contributes significantly to the prediction of achievement in math and reading. Hierarchical regression analyses using the entire set of independent variables indicated that manual dexterity makes no significant or unique contribution to the prediction of retention decisions, achievement in math or reading, behavior problems, or social competence. Scores on the measure of vocabulary knowledge did make a unique and significant contribution to the prediction of reading achievement, behavior problems, and social competence. It was found that, of the measures used in this study, the best prediction of success in kindergarten was obtained from a combination of a measure of visual-motor skill with the measure of intellectual ability.

It was cautioned that, despite its statistical Significance, the contribution of visual-motor ability to the Prediction of kindergarten success is small, leaving much of The variance unaccounted for. The importance of further Research into possibly relevant factors was discussed.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Kindergarten, Prediction of scholastic success, Motor ability in children
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: