Preschool and kindergarten teachers’ beliefs about early school competencies: Misalignment matters for kindergarten adjustment

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Early Childhood Longitudinal-Birth Cohort data were used to examine the extent to which preschool and kindergarten teachers aligned in their beliefs regarding the importance of school competencies at kindergarten entry,

Early Childhood Longitudinal-Birth Cohort data were used to examine the extent to which preschool and kindergarten teachers aligned in their beliefs regarding the importance of school competencies at kindergarten entry, whether misalignment in beliefs predicted academic and sociobehavioral adjustment in kindergarten, and if relations were moderated by children's socioeconomic status. Preschool and kindergarten teachers rated the importance of 12 skills categorized into domains of academic, self-regulatory, and interpersonal competence. In the fall of kindergarten, children were directly assessed on reading and math skills, and kindergarten teachers rated children's approaches to learning, disruptive behavior, and social behavior. Findings revealed (a) misalignment was greatest for teachers’ beliefs about the importance of academic competence (b) greater misalignment in beliefs pertaining to all three domains of competence predicted poorer ratings of approaches to learning, social skills, and lower math achievement, and (c) children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds were more susceptible to the negative influence of misalignment, across adjustment outcomes, compared to their more-advantaged peers. Results are discussed in relation to efforts aimed at promoting alignment within children's early educational contexts.