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

Abstract

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.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Due to low sample sizes, American Indian/Alaskan Native (1.9 % of total sample) and Hawaiian students (0.3 % of total sample) were not included in analyses.

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Acknowledgments

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.

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Correspondence to Lindsey S. Mantz.

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Mantz, L.S., Bear, G.G., Yang, C. et al. The Delaware Social-Emotional Competency Scale (DSECS-S): Evidence of Validity and Reliability. Child Ind Res 11, 137–157 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-016-9427-6

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Keywords

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