Design Challenge Winner: The SRASEC

By: Ryan Kettler


My colleagues (Drs. Kelly A. Feeney-Kettler and Leah Dembitzer) and I propose a measure of social-emotional competence based on selected-response items. The Selected Response Assessment of Social Emotional Competence (SRASEC) will be computer administered in a game-like format and will be appropriate for elementary school students in kindergarten through fifth grade. As a direct assessment, the measure will indicate students’ knowledge of social-emotional competence, yielding key information about specific areas needing further development to support positive student outcomes.


The SRASEC, Social-Emotional Competence, and Achievement


Measures of social-emotional competence and student achievement have historically been difficult to compare in part because they have been based on different methodologies (i.e., rating scales and observations for social-emotional competence and testing for achievement). Much like tests, the SRASEC will be objectively scored using a combination of multiple choice, true/false, and matching items summed to yield a score with the necessary precision to make desired inferences. We will gather validity evidence for scores from the SRASEC using a multi-trait, multi-method (MTMM; Campbell & Fiske, 1959) matrix to determine the relationships between direct and indirect measures of both social-emotional competence and academic achievement. Thus, the SRASEC will facilitate measurement of impact both on (a) knowledge of social-emotional competence and on (b) academic competence which has been shown related to social and emotional skills (Caprara, Barbaranelli, Pastorelli, Bandura, & Zimbardo, P. G., 2000; DiPerna, Volpe, & Elliott, 2002, 2005; Kettler, Elliott, Davies, & Griffin, 2012).


Goals and Intended Uses


The primary goal of the SRASEC will be to provide scores reflective of students’ knowledge about social-emotional competence, particularly within the context of elementary school environments in the United States. Uses of SRASEC will stem from its provision of scores reflecting social-emotional competence and its constituent subskills. The SRASEC subscale scores representing social, emotional, and behavioral knowledge will be used to reflect profiles of strengths and weaknesses for individuals and groups of students. Scores and profiles will be used formatively to inform areas for selected and targeted preventive interventions in social-emotional competence. SRASEC scores will also be usable at the total and subscale levels to measure change in social-emotional competence, for example based on maturation or intervention programming. Lastly, SRASEC scores will measure socio-emotional competence via testing, allowing educators, evaluators, and researchers to study the relationship between the two variables without having to account for differences in measurement method.


SRASEC Subscales


Social Knowledge is defined as the awareness and understanding of the skills necessary to engage in and maintain healthy interactions with others. For example, an item on the Social Knowledge subscale might include a scenario showing and describing an interaction between two peers in the lunch room. The child could answer true/false questions about her perceptions of the interpersonal interaction.


Emotional Knowledge is defined as the ability to recognize, appropriately label and express, and differentiate between emotions in others and in one’s self. An item on the Emotional Knowledge subscale might involve matching emotions to students hearing news from their teacher.


Behavioral Knowledge is defined as the awareness and understanding of which actions and words are appropriate across contexts and settings.  An item on the Behavioral Knowledge subscale might be a multiple-choice question about the best response involving a scenario in which someone calls a child a name on the playground.


If you have questions or comments about the plan for designing SRASEC, please contact Ryan J. Kettler; Associate Professor; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey;



Disclaimer: The Assessment Work Group is committed to enabling a rich dialogue on key issues in the field and seeking out diverse perspectives. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Assessment Work Group, CASEL or any of the organizations involved with the work group.

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