Towards Scalable, Integrative Assessment of Children’s Self-Regulatory Capabilities: New Applications of Digital Technology

  • Jamin DayEmail author
  • Kate Freiberg
  • Alan Hayes
  • Ross Homel


The assessment of self-regulation in children is of significant interest to researchers within education, clinical and developmental psychology, and clinical neuroscience, given its importance to adaptive functioning across a wide range of social, educational, interpersonal, educational and health domains. Because self-regulation is a complex, multidimensional construct, a range of assessment approaches have been developed to assess its various components including behavioural, cognitive and emotional domains. In recent years, digital technology has been increasingly used to enhance or supplement existing measurement approaches; however, developments have predominantly focused on translating traditional testing paradigms into digital formats. There is a need for more innovation in digital psychological assessments that harness modern mechanisms such as game-based design and interactivity. Such approaches have potential for the development of scalable, adaptable universal approaches to screening and assessment of children’s self-regulatory capabilities, to facilitate early identification of difficulties in individuals and also guide planning and decision-making at a population level. We highlight a novel, innovative digital assessment tool for children called Rumble’s Quest, a new measure of children’s socio-emotional functioning that shows promise as an integrative assessment of well-being and self-regulation, and which incorporates both self-report and direct assessment of cognitive self-regulation. This tool is scalable, can be integrated into normal classroom activities, and forms part of a comprehensive prevention support system that can be used to guide stakeholders’ decision-making regarding early intervention and support at the individual, classroom, school and community level. We finish by discussing other innovative possibilities for psychological assessment with children, using new and emerging technologies and assessment approaches.


Self-regulation Psychological assessment Digital technology Children 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Authors Jamin Day and Alan Hayes have no conflicts of interest to declare. Authors Kate Freiberg and Ross Homel are co-developers of the Rumble’s Quest tool and associated digital support platforms (e.g. These authors receive no direct funding compensation or royalties. Ongoing development, validation and evaluation studies for Rumble’s Quest have been supported through Australian Research Council grants. No funding was received towards the preparation of this manuscript.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Family Action Centre, Faculty of Health and MedicineUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  2. 2.Griffith Criminology InstituteGriffith UniversityMount GravattAustralia

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