ABSTRACT A child’s ability to learn and school performance are influenced by various factors. Variables that affect learning and academic performance in 46 children, 4 - 7 years old, were examined. Children, parents, and teachers com- pleted questionnaires rating children’s attitudes toward and behavior in school. Children completed a computer- ized matching-to-sample (MTS) task, which trained the children to form 3 stimulus classes. One stimulus class included three arbitrary stimuli, the others contained a positively or negatively valenced stimulus, a school-re- lated stimulus, and an arbitrary stimulus. Class formation performance (including rate of learning, or the number of correct relations formed divided by the time spent in each training class) was assessed. Rate of learning pre- dicted attitudes toward school, and school attitudes predicted academic performance. Future directions for inter- vention in the early education of students who have poor attitudes toward school are discussed.
Cite this paper
nullGeddes, J. , Murrell, A. & Bauguss, J. (2010). Childhood Learning: An Examination of Ability and Attitudes toward School. Creative Education, 1, 170-183. doi: 10.4236/ce.2010.13027.
 Ak, L., & Sayil, M. (2006). Three different types of elementary school students’ school achievements, perceived social support, school atti- tudes and behavior-adjustment problems. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 6, 293-300.
 Achenbach, T. M. (1991). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist/4-18 and 1991 profile. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.
 Baron, R., & Kenny, D. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173-1182. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.113
 Berndt, T., & Mekos, D. (1995). Adolescents' perceptions of the stress- ful and desirable aspects of the transition to junior high school. Jour- nal of Research on Adolescence, 5, 123-142. doi:10.1207/ s15327795jra0501_6
 Bryant, A., Schulenberg, J., Bachman, P., O’Malley, P., & Johnston, L. (2000). Understanding the links among school misbehavior, acdemic achievement, and cigarette use: A national panel study of adolescents. Prevention Science, 1, 71-87. doi:10.1023/A:1010038130788
 Brophy, J. (1983). Conceptualizing student motivation. Educational Psychologist, 18, 200-215.
 Carroll, J. B. (L.W. Anderson, Ed.). (1985). Perspectives on school learning. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.
 Catania, C. (1984). Learning (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Pren- tice-Hall.
 Cunningham, A. E., & Stanovich, K. E. (1997). Reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability 10 years later. Deve- lopmental Psychology, 33, 934-945. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.33.6. 934
 De Rose, J., De Souza, D., & Hanna, E. (1996). Teaching reading and spelling: Exclusion and stimulus equivalence. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 29, 451-469. doi:10.1901/jaba.1996.29-451
 Demirbas, M., & Yagbasan, R. (2006). An evaluative study of social learning theory based scientific attitudes on academic success, gen- der and socio-emotional level. Educational Sciences: Theory & Pra- ctice, 6, 363-371.
 Devaney, J. M., Hayes, S.C., & Nelson, R.O. (1986). Equivalence class formatin in language-able and language-disabled children. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 46, 243-257. doi:10.1901/ jeab.1986.46-243
 Dougher, M., Augustson, E., Markham, M., Greenway, D., & Wulfert, E. (1994). The transfer of respondent eliciting and extinction func- tions through stimulus equivalence classes. Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 62, 331-351. doi:10.1901/jeab.1994.62-331
 Elliott, J. G., Hufton, N., Anderman, E., & Illushin, L. (2000) The Psychology of Motivation and Its Relevance to Educational Practice. Educational and Child Psychology, 17, 121-137.
 Geddes, J. D. (2008). The school attitude and behavior questionnaire. Unpublished measure. Measure can be obtained by contacting cor- responding author.
 Guay, F., Marsh, H. W., & Boivin, M. (2003). Academic self-concept and academic achievement: Developmental perspectives and their causal ordering. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 124-136. doi:10.1037/0022-0618.104.22.168
 Hauser-Cram, P., Durand, T., & Warfield, M. (2007). Early feelings about school and later academic outcomes of children with special needs living in poverty. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22, 161-172. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2007.02.001
 Hayes, S., Gifford, E., & Townsend, R. (2001). In: S.C. Hayes, D. Barnes-Holmes, & B. Roche (Eds.), Relational frame theory: A post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition (pp. 87-101). New York, NY, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
 Kearney, C. A. (2002). Identifying the function of school refusal be- havior: A revision of the school refusal assessment scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 24, 235-245.
 Macmillan, D., Widaman, K., Balow, I., Hemsley, R., & Little, T. (19- 92). Differences in adolescent school attitudes as a function of academic level, ethnicity, and gender. Learning Disability Quarterly, 15, 39-50. doi:10.2307/1510564
 Marjoribanks, K. (1987). Ability and attitude correlates of academic achievement: Family-group differences. Journal of Educational Psychology, 79, 171-178. doi:10.1037/0022-0622.214.171.124
 Marjoribanks, K. (1992). Family capital, children's individual attributes, and academic achievement. Journal of Psychology, 126, 529-538.
 Marjoribanks, K. (2001). Factors affecting the learning environments and school-related outcomes of Australian adolescents. Journal of Social Psychology, 135, 89-95. doi:10.1080/00224545.1995.9711406
 Melchiori, L., De Souza, D., & De Rose, J. (2000). Reading, equiva- lence, and recombination of units: A replication with students with different learning histories. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 33, 97-100. doi:10.1901/jaba.2000.33-97
 Miller, L. C. (1977). School Behavior Checklist manual. Los Angeles, CA: WPS/Western Psychological Services.
 Mondloch, C., & Thomson, K. (2008). Limitation in 4-year-old chil- dren’s sensitivity to the spacing among facial features. Child Devel- opment, 79, 1512-1523. doi:10.1023/A:1020774932043
 Morrison, F., Griffiths, E., & Alberts, D. (1997). Nature-nurture in the classroom: Entrance age, school readiness, and learning in children. Developmental Psychology, 33, 254-262. doi:10.1037/0012-1649. 33.2.254
 Moriguchi, Y., Okanda, M., & Itakura, S. (2008). Young children’s yes bias; How does it relate to verbal ability, inhibitory control and the- ory of mind? First Language, 28, 431-442. doi:10.1177/ 0142723708092413
 Novak, G., & Pelaez, M. (2004). Child and adolescent development: A behavioral systems approach. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Pub- lications.
 Strand, P., Barnes-Holmes, Y., & Barnes-Holmes, D. (2003). Educating the whole child: Implications of behaviorism as a science of meaning. Journal of Behavioral Education, 12, 105-117. doi:10.1023/ A:1023833619332
 Okagaki, L., & Frensch, P. A. (1998). Parenting and children’s school achievement: A multiethnic perspective. American Educational Re- search Journal, 35, 123-144.
 Price, H. (2000). Being happy is what matters most: A look at two high-achieving girls’ learning experiences in the classroom. Psycho- analytic Studies, 2, 51-64. doi:10.1080/146089500114083
 Price, H. (2002). The emotional context of classroom learning: A psy- choanalytic perspective. European Journal of Psychotherapy, Coun- seling & Health, 5, 305-320.
 Peoples, M., Tierney, K., Bracken, M., & Mackay, C. (1998). Prior le- arning and equivalence class formation. Psychological Record, 48(1), 111-120.
 Pintrich, P. R. (2003). A motivational science perspective on the role of student motivation in learning and teaching contexts. Journal of Edu- cational Psychology, 95, 667-686. doi:10.1037/0022-06126.96.36.1997
 Plaud, J. J. (1995). The formation of stimulus equivalence classes: Fear-relevant and fear-irrelevant stimulus classes. Psychological Re- cord, 45, 207-222.
 Reynolds, C., & Kamphaus, R. (2004). Behavioral assessment system for children, second edition. Pearson Assessments, Bloomington, MN.
 Sarasson, S. (2004). And what do you mean by learning?. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
 Sidman, M. (1971). Reading and auditory-visual equivalences. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 14, 5-13.
 Sidman, M. (1977). Teaching some basic prerequisites for reading. In P. Mittler (Ed.), Research to practice in mental retardation: 2. Education and training (pp. 353-360). Baltimore, MD: University Park Press.
 Sidman, M. (1994). Equivalence relations and behavior: A research story. Boston: Authors Cooperative.
 Sternberg, R.J., Torff, B., & Grigorenko, E.L. (1998).Teaching triar- chically improves school achievement. Journal of Educational Psy- chology, 90, 1-11.
 Stevenson, H. W. (1972). Children’s learning. New York: Appleton- Century-Crofts.
 Stinnett, T. A., & Oehler-Stinnett, J. (1992). Validation of the teacher rating of academic achievement motivation. Journal of Psychoedu- cational Assessment, 10, 276-290. doi:10.1177/07342829920100 0307
 Subramaniam, P., & Silverman, S. (2007). Middle school students’ atti- tudes toward physical education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 602-611. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2007.02.003
 Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (1996). Using multivariate statistics (3rd ed.). New York: Harper Collins.
 Wang, M. C., Haertel, G. D., & Walberg, H. J. (1990). What influences learning? A content analysis of review literature. Journal of Educa- tional Research, 84, 30-43.
 Watt, A., Keenan, M., Barnes, D., & Cairns, E. (1991). Social catego- rization and stimulus equivalence. The Psychological Record, 41, 33-50.
 Weiner, B. (1992). Human motivation: Metaphors, theories, and re- search. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
 Zill, N., West, J. (2001). Entering kindergarten: A portrait of American children when they begin school. Findings from the condition of education, 2000. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics,