Child Indicators Research

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 137–157 | Cite as

The Delaware Social-Emotional Competency Scale (DSECS-S): Evidence of Validity and Reliability

  • Lindsey S. MantzEmail author
  • George G. Bear
  • Chunyan Yang
  • Angela Harris


The Delaware Social-Emotional Competency Scale (DSECS-S) was developed to provide schools with a brief, inexpensive, and psychometrically sound self-report scale to assess students’ social-emotional competencies. Confirmatory factor analyses, conducted on a sample of 32,414 students from 126 public elementary, middle, and high schools in Delaware, showed that a second-order model consisting of four specific factors and one general factor (social-emotional competence) best represented the data. Those four factors are represented in the four subscales of the DSECS-S: Responsible Decision Making, Relationship Skills, Self-Management, and Social Awareness. The scale’s factor structure was shown to be consistent across grade levels (i.e., elementary, middle, and high school), racial–ethnic groups (i.e., White, Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, and Multi-racial), and gender. As evidence of the scale’s criterion-related validity, the total social-emotional competency score correlated significantly and positively with students’ self-reported cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and total engagement. At the school level, social-emotional competence correlated positively with school-level academic achievement and negatively with suspensions/expulsions.


Social-emotional competence Social-emotional learning CASEL Program evaluation Assessment 



This research was supported in part by a School Climate Transformation Grant awarded to the Delaware Department of Education by the United States Department of Education.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 13 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsey S. Mantz
    • 1
    Email author
  • George G. Bear
    • 1
  • Chunyan Yang
    • 2
  • Angela Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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