Children's Competencies in Process Skills in Kindergarten and Their Impact on Academic Achievement in Third Grade
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Research Findings: The purpose of this study was to investigate the factorial structure of kindergarten children's mathematics and science process skills and the impact of children's competencies in process skills on their performance on mathematics and science achievement tests in 3rd grade. A subset of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten cohort data set (n=8,731) was analyzed using multilevel structural equation modeling. Results demonstrated that science and mathematics process skills were highly related at the construct level but not at the indicator level, as was anticipated. Kindergarten children's competency in mathematics process skills was a strong predictor of their performance on science and mathematics achievement tests in the 3rd grade. However, children's competency in science process skills was only a significant predictor of their performance on a science achievement test in the 3rd grade. Moreover, socioeconomic status and gender were statistically significant predictors of process skills and performance on achievement tests. Practice or Policy: The findings of the present study suggest that the development of children's science and mathematics process skills should be supported utilizing integrated inquiry-based science and mathematics activities to help children recognize the connection between mathematics and science and to contribute to their science and mathematics achievement in later grades.