Identification and validation of school readiness profiles among high-risk kindergartners.


Person-oriented methods recently have been used to examine school readiness patterns of strengths and weaknesses across multiple domains, but more research in high-risk samples is needed. The current study used latent profile analysis to examine whether teacher ratings could be used to identify distinct and valid readiness profiles among 301 high-risk, low-income kindergartners. Four profiles were identified: (1) Well-Adjusted, with strengths in every domain (42%), (2) Competent-Aggressive, with above-average academic abilities and elevated disruptive behavior (19%), (3) Academically Disengaged, with weaknesses in most domains but no disruptive behavior (22%), and (4) Multi-Risk, with severe weaknesses in every domain (17%). These four profiles differed on concurrent direct assessments of language and executive functioning, as well as on peer ratings of behavior. Results highlight heterogeneity among children at risk for poor school adjustment and indicate that valid profiles of school readiness can be derived from teacher ratings. Further, this study suggests that a person-oriented approach can provide a useful framework for researchers, interventionists, and teachers as they consider which different classroom practices or programs may be required to best meet the unique learning and developmental needs of different subgroups of children as they transition to school.