The purpose of this project is to establish the psychometric feature and instrument useability of a practitioner-administered observer impression scale assessment of preschool children’s peer-related social competence. The ratings for this scale are based on three 5-minute observations of preschool children engaging in social interaction with their peers. The information may be used for general assessment for all children, screening for children who may need support in establishing positive peer social competence, and progress monitoring. Phase 1 of this project will focus on content validity, cultural and ethnic appropriateness of items, and instrumentation that would allow for online data collection. Phase 2 of the project will involve large-scale data collection that will allow instrument modification, confirmatory factor analysis, and evaluation of useability. Phase 3 of the project will examine criterion-related validity, utility as a progress monitoring tool, interactions of child and rater demographic characteristics, and scalability. At the end of this project, a fully developed, psychometrically verified, and practical assessment of preschool children’s peer social competence, suitable for scaling up for program use, will be available to early childhood programs and practitioners.
The study will take place in Head Start and state PreK programs in NC and southern CA. We anticipate that there will be a mix of urban, suburban, small town, and rural locations for these programs and the communities in which they are situated will be racially, ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse.
By the end of the project, a fully developed TIS with strong evidence of reliability, validity, and useability will be available for teachers in early learning classes along with a brief, 30-minute introduction to procedures for data collection and use of the data once collected.