L.C. Chang, H.C. Hsieh

National University of Tainan (TAIWAN)
Transition from 2nd grade to 3rd grade in Taiwan’s primary school can be a challenge for some students. In Taiwan’s school system, 1st grade to 2nd grade is a half-day program. However, from 3rd grade to 6th grade, it becomes a full-day program. Therefore, a lot of adjustment efforts have to be made for pupils in 3rd grade to the new changes. Many western studies have found maladjustment in school can lead to poor academic achievements and might have long-term psychological effect. Nonetheless, few studies in Taiwan were found to explore this issue.
This paper studied school adjustment in Taiwan that explored the learning and psychological difficulties of 3rd grade students. ‘School Adjustment Child Rating Scale’ was especially developed by the present authors. The instrument is a 4-point Likert scale with 40 items. It includes 5 subscales: classroom routines and rule adjustment, environments adjustment, learning adjustment, teacher relationship adjustment and peer relationship adjustment. The measure also includes a background information sheet. The sample of the study consisted of 1164 3rd grade pupils who came from 50 classes of 20 different schools. The survey was conducted in school year 2010-2011 at the beginning of the 1st semester. Students in 3rd grade filled out the questionnaire in class. Proportional stratified clusters sampling technique was employed.
The results of the study found: (1) Third grade students had a lowest average in learning adjustment (mean=3.19). In this subscale, subjects indicate they worried most about taking tests in 3rd grade (mean=2.09).(2) Gender difference was found in total adjustment and all subscales. Girls had better school adjustment abilities than boys. (3) Immigrant variable was found to be significant. Children of immigrant mothers had significantly lower score than general students in classroom routines and rule adjustment, learning adjustment, peer relationship adjustment, and total adjustment. (4) Birth order was also found to be significant variable. Only child had significantly lower score than children with siblings in all subscales. In addition, the middle child group was found to have better adjustment in all subscales. (5) School size, home-room teacher gender and age variables had no significant effect on school adjustment.
The findings of the study fill the research gap in the field of school adjustment in Taiwan. The instrument is useful in identifying 3rd grade children with school adjustment problems. Besides, the findings provided insightful information for teachers, school administrators and counselors in helping primary grade student through the difficulties of transitional times.