The purpose of this study was to determine if children identified by teachers at different levels of risk for school failure were distinguished by their peers in terms of social status and behavioral descriptors. Two sociometric measures, nominations and ratings, were used to assess social status. Children's perceptions of their peers were also obtained for a set of behavioral descriptors. A total of 348 kindergarten children in one school for three successive years were included in the data analysis. Children were classified by teachers as at no risk, moderate risk, or high risk for retention. The results from multivariate analyses of variance showed a significant effect for risk groups for both sociometric measures and descriptors. Univariate test results showed the no-risk group was viewed more positively than the other two groups on the sociometric measures. The high-risk group was judged to be more disruptive and aggressive and to prefer to be alone more. Gender was a significant factor for the peer nomination data and behavioral characteristics but not for the class rating. The results are discussed in relation to early intervention with at-risk children. © 1993.
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