Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Education and International Services


Education, Curriculum and Instruction, MA

First Advisor

Millie Youngberg



It is estimated that about one-half of our nation's six-year-olds receive their initial formal education when entering first grade. Many authorities in the field of education feel that an early childhood educational experience may be a causative factor in a child's later academic and social adjustment in school.

The purpose of this study was to: (1) compare the academic achievement and social adjustment of first-grade children who have had kindergarten experience and first grade children who have not had kindergarten experience; and (2) compare the academic achievement and social adjustment of fourth grade children who have had kindergarten experience and fourth grade children who have not had kindergarten experience to find if there is a significant difference which has an effect as late as fourth grade.


One-hundred-seventy-two children from public schools were used for this study: ninety-three from the Osceola School and seventy-nine from the Moran School. Each child was given the SRA Primary Mental Abilities Test and the California Test of Personality. Each first grade child was given the Metropolitan Readiness Test. All of the children in both first and fourth grade participated in the composition of a sociogram for their individual rooms. Each student in both the first grade and the fourth grade was given a character trait rating and also a rating for achievement academically in the areas of reading, Writing and mathematics. These ratings were teacher opinion ratings.


It was found in this study that there is a significant difference in the readiness of children entering first grade, the difference being in the favor of the child who has had kindergarten experience. There was varied evidence for the comparison of mental abilities of children entering first grade. However, all comparisons of achievement for both first and fourth grades were of no significance. All comparison of social adjustment for children having had kindergarten experience and children not having had kindergarten experience was of no significance, with the exception of a few categories on the sociogram. This was true for the first grade children tested as well as the fourth grade children who were tested.


This research indicated that the extent to which school beginners had developed in the skills and abilities that contribute to readiness for first grade instruction was greater for those children who had had kindergarten experiences. However, the advantage of those having kindergarten experience was not maintained through the fourth grade.

Subject Area

Kindergarten; Child psychology


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