Classroom quality as a predictor of first graders' time in non-instructional activities and literacy achievement

Leigh McLean, Nicole Sparapani, Jessica R. Toste, Carol Mc Donald Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This study investigated how quality of the classroom learning environment influenced first grade students' (n = 533) time spent in two non-instructional classroom activities (off-task and in transition) and their subsequent literacy outcomes. Hierarchical linear modeling revealed that higher classroom quality was related to higher student performance in reading comprehension and expressive vocabulary. Further, classroom quality predicted the amount of time students spent off-task and in transitions in the classroom, with slopes of change across the year particularly impacted. Mediation effects were detected in the case of expressive vocabulary such that the influence of classroom quality on students' achievement operated through students' time spent in these non-instructional activities. Results highlight the importance of overall classroom quality to how students navigate the classroom environment during learning opportunities, with subsequent literacy achievement impacted. Implications for policy and educational practices are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of School Psychology
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Classroom quality
  • Early elementary
  • First grade
  • Instruction
  • Literacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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