A robust body of research finds positive cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between teacher-child relationships and children's academic achievement in elementary school. Estimating the causal effect of teacher-child relationships on children's academic achievement, however, is challenged by selection bias at the individual and school level. To address these issues, we used two multilevel propensity score matching approaches to estimate the effect of high-quality teacher-child relationships in kindergarten on math and reading achievement during children's transition to first grade. Multi-informant data were collected on 324 low-income, Black and Hispanic students, and 112 kindergarten and first-grade teachers. Results revealed significant effects of high-quality teacher-child relationships in kindergarten on math achievement in first grade. No significant effects of teacher-child relationships were detected for reading achievement. Implications for intervention development and public policy are discussed.
- Causal inference
- Teacher-child relationships
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology