Children’s Development in Kindergarten: A Multilevel, Population-Based Analysis of ESL and Gender Effects on Socioeconomic Gradients
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Socioeconomic gradients for five school readiness domains were examined in multilevel analyses in relation to English-as-a-Second-Language status (comparing English-, Punjabi-, and Cantonese-speaking children) and gender, drawing from a population-based sample (n = 40,722) from British Columbia, Canada. School readiness ratings were obtained from the teacher-administered Early Development Instrument (EDI; Janus and Offord (Canadian journal of behavioural science 39: 1–22, 2007) and linked to enumeration area (6-digit postal code) level socioeconomic status census data. The findings show that (i) girls obtain consistently higher ratings on all developmental domains of the EDI than boys, (ii) the socioeconomic gradient for Punjabi-speaking children is significantly flatter than for English- and Cantonese-speaking children, and (iii) English-, Punjabi-, and Cantonese-speaking children obtain similar ratings on all developmental domains, except communication skills (in English), once analyses control for socioeconomic status. The findings are discussed with regard to cultural and ecological theories of development, and recommendations for the design and analyses of future research are provided.
KeywordsChild development Early Development Instrument (EDI) School readiness Socioeconomic gradients English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) Punjabi (South Asian) Cantonese (Asian) Gender differences
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