Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Regena Fails Nelson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Ariel Linda-Hart Anderson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jianping Shen, Ph.D.


Cognitive development, home environment, language-minority, preschool and kindergarten experience, school environment, socioemotional development


Evidence has suggested that preschool and kindergarten experiences affect the cognitive and social-emotion development of language-minority students (LMS). This quantitative study aims to illustrate the LMS’ preschool and kindergarten experience by investigating the preschool and kindergarten experience, family environment, and school environment. Longitudinal data from the U.S. nationwide Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten (ECLS-K), was used to apply a hierarchical linear model (HLM). Due to a gap in the literature regarding how school and family environments influence the holistic development of LMS, this study explores whether and how preschool and kindergarten experiences are associated with LMS’ cognitive and socioemotional outcomes while controlling for child, family, and school-level variables. In particular, this study examined the effects of the preschool and kindergarten levels obtained at the end of kindergarten, third grade, fifth grade, and eighth grade. This study offers new perspectives on how sociocultural environments impact the cognitive and socioemotional achievement of LMS. Most importantly, this study provides suggestions for families and schools to support LMS development.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access