Adam Winsler's Web World

Language, Culture, Music, Self-Regulation, and School Readiness Lab

Sample Current Research Projects

The Effect of Subsidized Child Care and Public School Pre-K on the School Readiness of Diverse, Low-Income, Urban Preschoolers with Long-Term Follow up: The Miami School Readiness Project (MSRP)

This exciting large-scale, university-community partnership,program evaluation, and applied research project involves maintenance and development of the master database for all child-level, classroom-level, child care center-level, and family-level data involved in the Assessment-Intervention Program, sponsored by the Miami-Dade School Readiness Coalition with support from The Children's Trust. In this project, for 5 years (2012-2007), about 58,000 4-year old low-income children (approximately 60% Latino,30% African American, and 10% white/other) attending state-subsidized child care facilities (center-based, family daycares, informal care, and public school pre-k programs) were individually assessed (in English and Spanish) on their cognitive, language, and motor skills at the beginning (PRE) and end (POST) of the school year. Also, parents and teachers rate children's socio-emotional skills and behavior problems at PRE and POST. The children are still being followed longitudinally as they progress through Miami-Dade County Public Schools with a wide variety of school records outcome data available through 11th grade.

Middle School Arts Electives Among Low-Income, Ethnically Diverse Students in Miami: Who Takes Them, for How Long, and What are the Academic Benefits?

Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, this exciting project is examining 1) child, family, and school predictors of low-income minority youth selecting arts elective courses in middle school, and 2) whether youth who take arts courses do better in school than those who do not, controlling for the selection factors identified in #1. Using data from the Miami School Readiness Project, about 32,000 children (60% Latino, 33% Black, 7% White/Other, 85% in poverty) are reaching 6th, 7th, or 8th grade and 20-25% of them are enrolling in some kind of arts elective course (i.e., band, orchestra, choir, drama, dance, art). Predictor variables include child gender, ethnicity, ELL and disability status, initial school readiness, 5th grade GPA and test scores; family size, marital status, maternal education, free lunch and immigrant status; and school size, quality, resources, and ethnic distribution. We will see if arts classes are linked with better outcomes for at-risk youth (GPA, test scores, attendance, retention, suspension, and drop out).

Does the Immigrant Advantage Remain Stable Throughout Elementary School?

Mayra's masters thesis examines whether immigrant students are still doing better than native US-born students in terms of academic outcomes in third, fourth, and fifth grade. Using data from the MSRP, we are comparing the academic outcomes of immigrant students (first- or second-generation immigrants) to non-immigrant students (third-generation+). We are also examining the outcomes of students from different immigrant generations (first-generation compared to second-generation immigrant students). Additionally, we are asking whether immigrant advantage depends on country or origin and gender.

Degree of Bilingualism, Behavior Problems, Executive Functioning, and Private Speech Use

A group of 80 5- to 7-year-old children falling into three groups (monolingual English, bilingual English-Spanish, and Spanish speaking children still learing English) completed a battery of executive function tasks (go/no-go task (GNG), the Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders task (HTKS), the Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS), the Simon task, and the Tower of London (TOL). Parents completed surveys on children’s language background, EF, and behavior problems. We are currently analyzing whether children's private speech in English and Spanish relate to their executive functioning and degree of bilingualism.

The Influence of Elementary School Quality on Differential Effects of Preschool Programs in Third Grade

This master's thesis uses the Miami School Readiness Project to address how elementary school quality impacts the third grade academic outcomes of children who attended three different types of preschool programs. Prior to kindergarten, children attended either public school pre-kindergarten (pre-K), center-based care (CBC), or family childcare (FCC). Third grade elementary school quality was determined by the "grade" (A-F) assigned to each school by their school district, and is based on the school's average FCAT scores and how they improved from one year to the next. Third grade academic outcomes to be investigated include FCAT math and reading scores, third grade GPA, and whether or not the child was retained in third grade. Research questions are: 1) Are there differences in the quality of the elementary schools that children go on to attend as a function of having been in FCC, CBC, or pre-K? 2) How are children who went to FCC, CBC, or pre-K programs performing academically in third grade? 3) Do the differences between the academic performance of children who attended FCC, CBC, or pre-K change as a function of elementary school quality? 4) Is there differential "fadeout"by child gender and ethnicity?

Predictors and Effects of School Mobility on Low-Income, Ethnically Diverse Children's Academic Outcomes: Does School Quality and Type of Child Matter?

This project focuses on the potential impact of switching schools between public school pre-k and kindergarten, on ethnically diverse children's later academic outcomes. Using data from the MSRP, we are comparing students who stayed in the same school for public school pre-k and kindergarten to students who switch school between public school pre-k and kindergarten. We are examining 1) child characteristics that predict who is more likely to switch schools, 2) the outcomes of switching schools on academic achievement in kindergarten and 1st grade, and 3) how school quality can predict mobility and influence academic achievement in kindergarten and 1st grade. Another these is focusing on predictors of school mobility during Kindergarten through fifth grade. We follow students who stayed at the same school up through fifth grade and compare them to students who transitioned to another school one or more times from Kindergarten to fifth grade. We are able to examine the quality of the school just before their first move, and the level of social, cognitive, and language schools at school entry as predictors of who is likely to move and move more often.

Who Gets In?: Selection into Advanced Courses among Low-Income, Ethnically Diverse Youth

This project uses MSRP data to look at who among low-income, ethnically diverse students are taking advanced, honors, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses in middle school and high school. We are examining what selection factors are related to access in these courses with a specific emphasis on poverty and ethnicity. The major early childhood factors of interest are demographic factors (ethnicity, free and reduced lunch status, English language learner status, disability status), school readiness (cognitive, language, motor, social and behavioral skills at school entry), and prior competence (standardized test scores and GPA).

Longitudinal Follow-up of Ethnically Diverse Children with Autism: Predictors of Success Through 5th Grade

This master’s thesis reports the longitudinal academic outcomes of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who attended special education pre-K programs using data from the Miami School Readiness Project (MSRP). Currently, there are few long-term reports of children with ASD and their performance throughout elementary school. Moreover, current studies concerning ASD primarily focus on white children of middle to high socioeconomic status. This thesis will follow the progression of a primarily low- income and ethnically diverse sample of children from pre-K through 5th Grade. How school readiness assessments (cognitive, language, motor, behavioral, and social skills) given at age four are related to the performance of children at Grade 5 will also be explored along with potential ethnic differences (Black, Latino, White) in academic outcomes.

How are Parents and Peer Relationships in Early Childhood Related to Child Aggression Later in School: A Multi-informant Longitudinal Analysis

This study aims to test if relationships with parents and relationships with peers at age 4 are related to longitudinal trajectories of aggressive behaviors later from 3rd to 5th grade, using data from the NICHD ECCRN. Specifically, we are testing maternal conflict, maternal closeness, and maternal sensitivity as parental predictors of child aggression. For peers, we are exploring obsered positive and negative contribution to play and prosocial behavior. Self-report of relational and physical aggression and mother and teacher reports of relational and general aggression in grades 3 through 6 are examined.

Executive Functioning, Language, and Obesity among Latino Children

Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, with ethnic minority children at highest risk. Obesity during childhood has been linked to many other related health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Research supports correlations between a child's executive functioning skills (i.e., inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility) and his or her ability to refrain from engaging in weight gain behaviors as well as to initiate engagement in weight loss behaviors. Working within a large multi-disciplinary obesity intervention project (Project VALÉ) under the direction of Dr. Sina Gallo, Nutrition & Food Studies, we are exploring the relationship between executive functioning, language and weight among children of first-generation Latino immigrants.

How Profiles of School Readiness Relate to Third Grade Performance Among Low-Income Ethnically and Linguistically Diverse Children

This dissertation explores how early school readiness profiles predict third grade academic performance among a low-income ethnically diverse sample of children in Miami-Dade County, Florida. School readiness is a multidimensional, complex construct that includes children’s academic skills and also their environmental circumstances. Starting school ready is crucial for long-term academic success. This ?project uses a person-centered approach (i.e. latent profile analysis) ?to determine the types of school readiness profiles in this sample, evaluate how membership in these profiles might vary as a function of various demographic variables (e.g. gender, ethnicity, poverty, etc.)and predict academic performance in third grade, including grades in school, test scores, and grade retention.?

Papers in Progress (in review or revision)

Mead, D.L., Hutchison, L.A., Levitt, J., & Winsler, A. (in review). Long-term effects of kindergarten retention on academic outcomes for ethnically diverse, low-income children.

Conway-Turner, J., Visconti, K,C., & Winsler, A. (in review). The role of gang involvement as a protective factor in the association between peer victimization and negative emotional outcomes for youth.

Carlson, A. G., Winsler, A., & Curby, T. W. (in review). Early fine motor skills predict third grade achievement among low-income, ethnically diverse children.

De Feyter, J.J., Hartman, S., Hutchison, L., Parada, M.D., & Winsler, A. (in review). The early academic resilience of children in low-income, immigrant families.

Hines, C., & Winsler, A. (in review). Predictors of school mobility from public school pre-k to kindergarten.

Conger, D., Gibbs, C.R., Uchikoshi, Y., & Winsler, A. (in review). New benefits of public school pre-kindergarten programs: Early school stability, reduced retention, and early exit from ELL programs.

Thompson, B., & Winsler, A. (in review). Parent-teacher agreement on social skills and behavior problems among ethnically diverse preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder.

Borre, A.M., Bernhard, J., Bleiker, C., & Winsler, A. (in review). Preschool literacy intervention for low-income, ethnically diverse children: Effects of the Child Writers Program through kindergarten.

Picci, G., Hutchison, L., Mendoza, D., & Winsler, A. (in review). Typically developing children in reverse-mainstream preschool classrooms: Outcomes through second grade.

Winsler, A., Gara, T., Alegrado, A., Castro, S., & Tavassolie, T. (in review). Selection into, and academic benefits from, arts-related courses in middle school for low-income, ethnically diverse youth.

Tavassolie, T., & Winsler, A. (in review). Predictors of mandatory 3rd grade retention from high-stakes test performance for low-income, ethnically diverse children.

De Feyter, J.J., Curby, T., & Winsler, A. (in review). School readiness, early achievement, and English language proficiency for children in low-income immigrant families.

Mead, D.L., & Winsler, A. (in review). Change over time in the type and functions of crib speech around the fourth birthday.

Mumma, K.A., Hutchison, L., Bleiker, C., & Winsler, A. (in review). Home and school literacy environments of low-income preschoolers: Relations with children's early literacy outcomes.

Winsler, A., & Mumma, K. (in review). Understanding long-term preschool “fade-out” effects: Be careful what you ask for: Magical thinking revisited. In B. Graue, S. Ryan, F. L. Levine, & V.L. Gadsden (Eds.). Advancing knowledge & building capacity for early childhood research. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

Conway-Turner, J., Williams, J., & Winsler, A. (in review). School racial composition and the achievement of students in a diverse sample.

Tavassolie, T., & Winsler, A. (in preparation). Long-term outcomes of 3rd grade retention from high-stakes tests.