Posted on 02/22/2016 at 12:43 PM by Liz Determan

“Predictors of Postsecondary Success” (Early Childhood & Elementary)

College & Career Readiness & Success Center, American Institutes for Research

November 2013

Vanessa Hein and Becky Smerdon, Quill Research  Associates, LLC, and Megan Sambolt, American Institutes for Research committed to “summarizing early childhood through early postsecondary education research that identifies student skills, behaviors, and other characteristics that predict future academic and workplace success” (pg. 1).  They looked at a broad range of benchmarks using three categories: indicators, predictors, and other potential factors.  After a review of this report, I felt that it would be helpful to share what they found in the research they reviewed that covered PK through 16 (including the first two years of postsecondary education).

Below is a brief summary of what they found.  The focus for the next three months will be to share the information they discovered. This month we will look at the early childhood and elementary data.


While there were no surprises, it acts as a good reminder that there are a number of students in our districts who are missing some of the significant attributes, academically and/or personally, who may struggle at achieving the competencies needed to be college and career ready.  I believe we need to develop a long-range plan to address the needs of these students because we need each and every student leaving our districts to be equipped to persist through postsecondary education and training, whatever that may look like, and enter the workforce with the personal and professional attributes that will help them live successful lives.


Age/Grade Span Indicators Predictors Other Potential Factors
Early Childhood (prenatal – kindergarten)   Persistence
Emotion regulation
Attentiveness Physical health Social-Emotional development
Language & Cognitive development
School-readiness screenings
Preschool programming
Working memory skills
Display of positive play interactions with other students, teachers, & family members
Remain in a task until the task is complete.
Elementary (Grades 1-4): Reading by the 3rd Grade  
Less than 10% absenteeism in elementary school
Social Skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, & self-control
Attention span
Classroom participation
Demonstration of social competence
Ability to develop & maintain interpersonal relationships  


“None of the indicators, predictors, or other potential factors are intended to be used independently; rather, they are potentially valuable components of a comprehensive data-informed decision process designed to improve postsecondary success for all students.” (pg. 2)

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