First Grade Classroom-Level Adversity: Associations With Teaching Practices, Academic Skills, and Executive Functioning

Tashia Abry, Kristen L. Granger, Crystal I. Bryce, Michelle Taylor, Jodi Swanson, Robert Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Using data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development and a model-building approach, the authors examined direct and indirect associations between first-grade (G1) classroom-level adversity (CLA), G1 teaching practices, and student (N = 1,073; M = 6.64 years; 49% girls; 82% White) academic skills and executive functioning in G1 and third grades (G3). Teachers reported the prevalence of adversity among their students (e.g., poor home/family life, poor academic/social readiness). Observers rated G1 teaching practices: teachers' classroom management, controlling instruction, and amount of academic instruction (classroom observation system). Children completed literacy and math assessments at 54 months, G1, and G3 (Woodcock Johnson Letter-Word Identification and Applied Problems), and executive functioning at G1 and G3 (Tower of Hanoi). Direct associations emerged between CLA and controlling instruction (positive), classroom management, and academic instruction (both negative). In addition, CLA was related to G1 literacy (but not math) directly and indirectly via classroom management (negatively) and controlling instruction (positively). The addition of G3 outcomes revealed a negative direct longitudinal association between CLA and G3 executive functioning, and indirect associations with G3 literacy and math through G1 teaching practices and literacy. Results support the notion that collective student characteristics influence student outcomes in part through teaching practices and suggest that teachers and students may benefit from the diffusion of high-adversity classroom compositions when possible. Moreover, in high-adversity classrooms teachers and students may benefit from supports targeting classroom management and foundational student competencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSchool Psychology Quarterly
StateAccepted/In press - May 24 2018


  • Academic skills
  • Classroom composition
  • Executive functioning
  • Peer influence
  • Teaching practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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