- How large are general knowledge gaps occurring in kindergarten, and to what extent do these continue to occur by the end of first grade?
- As children move from third to eighth grade, what is their typical initial level (i.e., intercept) and rate of achievement growth (i.e., slope) in science?
- Are these gaps consistent with stable, cumulative (i.e., gap increasing), or compensatory (i.e., gap decreasing) achievement growth trajectories? How do these initial third-grade science achievement levels and third- to eighth-grade growth trajectories vary by children’s race, ethnicity, language, and family SES status? How are a more general set of child- and family-level characteristics, including parenting quality, related to typical levels of third-grade science achievement in the United States as well as to achievement growth from third to eighth grade?
- To what extent are the third-grade science achievement gaps, as well as third- to eighth-grade science achievement growth, explained by such modifiable factors as general knowledge, reading and mathematics achievement, and behavioral self-regulation? How much of children’s later science achievement can be predicted by their first-grade achievement-related knowledge, skills, and behaviors?
- With the aforementioned first-grade predictive factors accounted for, how important are the modifiable factors of children’s subsequent reading and mathematics achievement, and behavioral self-regulation at each of third, fifth, and eighth grades to their science achievement during these grades?
- To what extent does a school’s academic climate and racial, ethnic, and economic composition explain children’s science achievement, over and above the afore- mentioned child- and family-level factors?
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Multilevel Growth Modeling