Beach, Michelle Grace; Ph.D.
Program of Education
College of Human Development and Education; North Dakota State University
Kindergarten Teachers’ Perceptions of Factors Related to Academic Achievement for Rural Children Living in Poverty
Major Professor: Dr. Ron Stammen
The purpose of this study is to describe which skills and characteristics kindergarten teachers identify as factors that differentiate rural kindergarten students who do well in kindergarten despite living in poverty. Academic success in kindergarten predicts further academic success throughout life. Children raised in poverty often have limited academic and life achievement that begins in their earliest school years. Why some children raised in poverty achieve despite unlikely odds is not fully understood.
An electronic survey was disseminated to members of the North Dakota Kindergarten Association. Kindergarten teachers who teach in public schools answered questions about skills they have observed in successful rural kindergartners from poverty that differentiate them from their nonsuccessful peers.
Kindergarten teachers reported that skills in the emotional, social, cognitive, language and family domains are present in successful kindergartners and distinguish them from their nonsuccessful peers. Moreover, teachers identified other characteristics such as children’s attitudes that appear to help children in poverty succeed despite environmental disadvantages.
Findings provide insight into how educators may develop further ways to promote success at the kindergarten level and ultimately foster academic and life success throughout the lifespan.