Early Correlates of School Readiness Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic Linking Health and School Data.

Publication date: Feb 05, 2024

Many known correlates of kindergarten readiness are captured in developmental and social screenings in primary care; little is known about how primary care data predicts school readiness. To identify early Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) correlates by linking electronic health record (EHR) data with school district KRA data and to examine potential outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic using KRA scores between 2018 and 2021. This was a retrospective cohort study linking a large primary care practice (PCP) with school assessment data. Linkage used patient name, date of birth, and address. The setting was an urban school district and PCP affiliated with an academic medical center. Students had a KRA score from fall of 2018, 2019, or 2021 (no 2020 KRA due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and at least 1 prior well-child visit at the PCP. Exposures included year KRA administered, reported child race and ethnicity, child sex, interpreter for medical visits, child ever failed Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) 18 to 54 months, ever rarely read to, Medicaid status, food insecurity, housing insecurity, problems with benefits, and caregiver depressive symptoms. KRA score (continuous), with a possible range of 0 to 300 (passing score = 270). A total of 3204 PCP patients (mean [SD] age, 67 [4] months; 1612 male [50. 3%]; 2642 Black [82. 5%]; 94 Hispanic [2. 9%]; 244 White [7. 6%]) were matched to their KRA score. Mean (SD) KRA scores were significantly lower in 2021 (mean [SD], 260. 0 [13. 0]; 214 of 998 [21. 4%]) compared with 2019 (mean [SD], 262. 7 [13. 5]; 317 of 1114 [28. 5%]) and 2018 (mean [SD], 263. 5 [13. 6]; 351 of 1092 [32. 1%]), a pattern mirrored in the larger school district. In the linear regression final model (n = 2883), the following binary variables significantly lowered the child’s KRA score (points lowered [95% CI]) below a mean passing score of 270. 8: child ever failed ASQ after 18 months (-6. 7; 95% CI, -7. 7 to -5. 6), Medicaid insured (-5. 7; 95% CI, -9. 0 to -2. 3), Hispanic ethnicity (-3. 8; 95% CI, -6. 9 to -0. 6), requires interpreter (-3. 6; 95% CI, -7. 1 to -0. 1), 2021 year (-3. 5; 95% CI, -4. 7 to -2. 3), male sex (-2. 7; 95% CI, -3. 7 to -1. 8), ever rarely read to (-1. 5; 95% CI, -2. 6 to -0. 4), and food insecurity (-1. 2; 95% CI, -2. 4 to -0. 1). Race, caregiver depression, housing insecurity, and problems receiving benefits were not associated with KRA scores in final model. Findings of this cohort study suggest a deleterious association of the COVID-19 pandemic with early learning and development. There may be potential for PCPs and school districts to collaborate to identify and mitigate risks much earlier.

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Concepts Keywords
Depressive Care
Hispanic Ci
Kindergarten Correlates
Medicaid Covid
District
Insecurity
Kra
Linking
Mean
Pandemic
Pcp
Primary
Readiness
Score
Sd

Semantics

Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 Pandemic
drug DRUGBANK Phencyclidine
disease MESH insecurity housing

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