Preschool inattention and conduct problems linked to reduced exam scores

New research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry has used data from the University of Bristol Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) to investigate whether preschool hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problems are independently associated with academic outcomes at age 16.

Adverse effects were apparent in both boys and girls (n = 11,640). For boys, hyperactivity/inattention scores were associated with reductions of 10 GCSE points, and borderline and abnormal conduct problem scores were associated with reductions of 9–10 and 12–15 points respectively. For girls, early conduct problems rather than hyperactivity/inattention were important, with reductions of 9 and 12 points for borderline and abnormal scores respectively.

The authors say that there is a strong argument for the early identification of behavioural problems, and that this needs to be linked to appropriate interventions to be effective. They also suggest that teachers should be aware of the long-term implications of early behavioural difficulties, particularly for children they might regard as being at risk, and to take parental concerns about behaviour problems seriously.

Source: Pre-school Hyperactivity/Attention Problems and Educational Outcomes in Adolescence: Prospective Longitudinal Study (2013), British Journal of Psychiatry.

What do we know about well-being?

The Department for Education’s Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre has published a new review of evidence on well-being and learning. Their starting point was that, although previous literature suggests a link, less is known about how multiple dimensions of well-being (emotional, behavioural, social, school) predict later educational outcomes. The authors conducted a review of relevant literature, as well as using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Key findings included:

  • Children with higher levels of emotional, behavioural, social, and school well-being, on average, have higher levels of academic achievement and are more engaged in school;
  • As children move through the school system, emotional and behavioural well-being become more important in explaining school engagement, while demographic and other characteristics become less important; and
  • The relationships between emotional, behavioural, social, and school well-being and later educational outcomes are generally similar for children and adolescents, regardless of their gender and parents’ educational level.

Source: The impact of pupil behaviour and wellbeing on educational outcomes (2012), Department for Education