What elements predict concerns about the transition to secondary school?

Gough Kenyon, S. M., Lucas, R. M., & Palikara, O. (2020). Expectations of the transition to secondary school in children with developmental language disorder and low language ability. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(2), 249-265.

Aim of the paper:

There is little research on the transition from primary to secondary school for children with DLD. Such research is important as a successful transition may relate to academic, psychological and social outcomes in children with DLD. This paper looks at the expectation of transition and predictors of transition concerns in children with DLD, children with low language ability and typically developing children.

Example of predictors:

  • Scholastic competence: the child’s perception of their ability to do schoolwork

  • Emotion competence: the child’s perception of their ability to recognize and regulate emotion

  • Social competence: the child’s perception of their ability to engage in social interactions

What they found:

  • Children with DLD have the highest level of concern for transition to secondary school

  • For children with DLD, scholastic competence is the most important predictor of overall transition concerns.

  • Although children with DLD or low language ability have lower social competence compared to typically developing children, social competence only predicted overall transition concerns for typically developing children

  • Emotion competence does not predict overall transition concern. But for children with DLD it does predict concerns regarding new rules and expectations.

What does this mean?

The results from this study suggest that concerns regarding the transition from primary to secondary stem from different factors for different population of children. For children with DLD, scholastic competence plays a key role in their transition, whilst emotion competence also plays a partial role.

Given that children with DLD are more likely to have a high level of transition concern, parents should be aware of their children’s self-confidence in academic ability and emotional skills, especially when their children are approaching the age of transition to secondary school.

Where can I read this paper?

This paper is not open access, but can be accessed here.