ACADEMIC SKILLS PREDICTORS AND GENDER DIFFERENCES

Introduction:
Recently researchers have studied the relevance of domain-specific and domain-general predictors on basic academic skills development (e.g., Passolunghi & Lanfranchi, 2012). Some data maintain that intelligence, working memory and its components as general predictors of basic school skills (Aragón, Navarro, Aguilar, Cerda, in press; Preßler, Krajewski, & Hasselhorn, 2013). In addition, domain-specific predictors of academic skills as early literacy and early numeracy are also stated (Purpura, Hume, Sims, & Lonigan, 2011).

Objective:
This study evaluated possible gender differences in domain-general and domain-specific predictors of academic skills. Those differences could explain gender gap in early years.

Methodology:
Participants included 178 third year of Preschool Education from four schools students. Girls were 89, ages ranged from 59 to 71 months (M=65.53; SD=3.48), and 89 boys, whose ages ranged between 59 and 72 months (M=65.66; SD=3.64). A cognitive assessment was carried out using the Raven Coloured Progressive Matrices Test, Forward and Backward digit Test, Get Ready to Read and Early Numeracy Test.

Results and Discussion:
To analyse gender differences Kruskal-Wallis one-way statistical test was used. Our findings support the notion that gender differences were not significant considering the psychological variables assessed (intelligence, working memory, short-term memory, early literacy and early mathematical competence). They are also consistent with other studies reporting of no gender differences between boys and girls in domain-general and specific-predictors of academic skills (Aragón, Delgado, Aguilar, Araújo, & Navarro, 2013; Jordan, Kaplan, Nabors-Olah, & Locuniak, 2006; Hyde, 2005; Lindberg, Hyde, Petersen, & Linn, 2010).