Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Psychology (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Mark D. Terjesen

Second Advisor

Lauren Moskowitz

Third Advisor

Marlene Sotelo-Dynega


Student performance on kindergarten screening measures and level of kindergarten-entry skills have been shown to be predictive of subsequent academic achievement, thus making kindergarten screening measures a useful tool that guides the monitoring of student progress over time. Though a commonly used tool to assist in kindergarten placement considerations by educators nationwide, the literature is lacking in studies that demonstrate the predictive ability of the Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning – Fourth Edition (DIAL-4) on later academic achievement. Related, behavioral and emotional functioning has been demonstrated to significantly impact student achievement. While the literature supports the predictive ability of kindergarten screening measures on academic performance, research is limited on how behavioral functioning moderates this predictive relationship. The present study aimed to examine the predictive ability of the DIAL-4 on later academic achievement and identify whether behavioral and emotional functioning impacts upon, and to what degree, the relationship between academic achievement and the DIAL-4. Additionally, this study examined the impact of the pause of in-person learning, as caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on student achievement and behavioral and emotional functioning through within-samples comparisons of student functioning in 2019 and 2021 to identify change amongst individual students. The results support the predictive ability of the DIAL-4 on subsequent academic achievement with significant correlations between DIAL-4 scores obtained before kindergarten with subsequent measures of academic achievement. The was no evidence found for a moderation effect of behavioral and emotional functioning on the prediction of academic achievement. Lastly, when controlling for scores on the DIAL-4, the data suggest a decrease in rate of student academic achievement and an increase in emotional and behavioral dysregulation following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated by statistically significant differences in BERI scores as well as significant decreases in rates of growth in reading ability within some cohorts. These findings provide educators with empirical evidence for the utility of the DIAL-4 in predicting academic achievement as well as insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted students’ functioning.

Included in

Psychology Commons