Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA in Psychology



First Advisor

Melissa K Perkins

Second Advisor

Dana Chesney


Teacher reports are often used to indicate how well children perform in school and help clinicians identify behavioral problems, such as inattentiveness (Charach et al., 2009). However, various factors may have an effect on teacher ratings of children’s behavior, which can have downstream effects on children’s academic achievement (Teisl et al., 2001). Given teachers play a large role in identifying at-risk youth, it is important to understand how their reports of children’s behavior are associated with childhood outcomes such as cognitive development, which is closely tied to academic achievement (Metcalfe et al., 2013). The present study aimed to identify patterns of children’s behavior based on teacher report data, as well as test whether these patterns were associated with five domains of cognitive functioning. We hypothesized that there would be one low-risk pattern of behavior that would include children exhibiting low levels of behavioral issues, and moderate- to high-risk patterns that would include children with varying degrees of behavioral issues. We expected that children with greater performance across the cognitive domains would be more likely to exhibit the low-risk pattern of behavior compared to the moderate- and high-risk patterns of behavioral issues. Analyses were performed with data from wave 5 of the Future of Families and Child Wellbeing study (N=2063). Latent class analysis revealed seven classes, with one low-risk class and six classes of varying risk level. Better performance on reading comprehension and mathematics assessments was associated with a greater likelihood of belonging to the low-risk class, even when controlling for significant demographic constructs. The present study suggests that teachers’ reports of children’s problematic classroom behavior may be useful for identifying children at risk for poor academic outcomes, leading to early intervention.