Predicting school achievement from early theory of mind : Differential effects on achievement tests and teacher ratings

Professorship/Faculty: Developmental Psychology  ; Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) 
Author(s): Lockl, Kathrin ; Ebert, Susanne; Weinert, Sabine  
Title of the Journal: Learning and individual differences : a multidisciplinary journal in education
ISSN: 1041-6080
Publisher Information: Amsterdam [u.a.] : Elsevier Science
Year of publication: 2017
Volume: 53
Pages: 93-102
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1016/j.lindif.2016.11.007
This study investigates long term consequences of early theory-of-mind abilities on different measures of school achievement. A group of 86 children (50% girls) completed theory-of-mind tasks and standardized tests onworking memory, language, and nonverbal abilities at the age of 4 years. In Grade 1 and Grade 2, they were presented with a test on reading and two tests on mathematical competencies (arithmetic skills and numeracy). Moreover, teachers rated children's competencies with regard to literacy, mathematics, attention, and social-emotional aspects. The results showed that with the exception of numeracy there were no or only weak predictive relations between theory-of-mind understanding in preschool and performance on achievement tests in school after controlling for socioeconomic status, gender, nonverbal abilities, working memory, and language abilities. However, in first grade, theory ofmind turned out to be a significant predictor of teachers' ratings of children's reading and mathematical competencies even if the other child variables were controlled for.
Keywords: Theory of mind, School achievement, Longitudinal study, Teacher ratings, Achievement tests
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 3. March 2017
Project: Langfristige Bedeutung früher Entwicklungen und Bildungserfahrungen in Kindergarten und Familie für den Bildungs- und Lebenserfolg junger Erwachsener im Alter von 18 Jahren
Langfristige bereichsspezifische und globale Effekte frühkindlicher Entwicklungen und Bildungserfahrungen: Eine interdisziplinäre Längsschnittstudie (Teilprojekt; BiKSplus)