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IES Grant

Title: Development and Validation of the Emotional Teacher Rating Scale (EMOTERS) for Preschool Classrooms
Center: NCER Year: 2016
Principal Investigator: Zinsser, Katherine Awardee: University of Illinois, Chicago
Program: Early Learning Programs and Policies      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (7/1/2016-6/30/2020) Award Amount: $1,400,000
Type: Measurement Award Number: R305A160010

Purpose: Although many researchers would agree that social-emotional learning (SEL) are important and that teachers play a critical role in promoting such skills, there is limited scientific knowledge about the specific strategies teachers use to support children's social and emotional development . Social-emotional teaching comprises a variety of activities and practices—some purposeful and planned, some naturally occurring—that promote SEL in students. The purpose of this project is to deepen the understanding of this emergent teaching construct and to develop a measure that will allow researchers and practitioners to accumulate more rigorous evidence about social-emotional teaching.

Project Activities: In this project, researchers will (1) identify social-emotional teaching practices that are connected to state policy and practice, and research literature in order to develop construct maps; (2) develop items and establish full-scale coverage for each construct by iteratively consulting with research, practice, and policy experts and coding existing classroom videos, and (3) establish preliminary evidence of reliability and validity through a field test of the new measure, including through associations with children's school readiness.

Products: Researchers will produce a fully developed and validated measure of social-emotional teaching intended for use with preschool teachers as well as peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: Primary data collection will occur in rural and urban districts in Illinois and a suburban district in Virginia.

Sample: Fifty teachers of 20 preschool classrooms across 6 child care centers will participate. Five children from each classroom will be randomly selected for coding their classroom behaviors. Three centers will be university-based and three will be community-based, serving low to middle SES children from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Assessment: Researchers will develop an observational measure of social-emotional teaching—the EMOtional TEacher Rating Scale (EMOTERS)—intended for use by researchers and practitioners. The measure will capture direct teaching of social and emotional competencies; modeling for children the social norms associated with different feelings and how to communicate and manage those feelings; reciprocal interactions between teachers and children, including the ways in which teachers respond to children's displays of emotion; and teaching actions to shape emotional tenor of the classroom.

Research Design and Methods: In Year 1, researchers will review literature, state standards, practitioner guidelines, and existing measures and begin developing the instrument and refining it with the assistance of the expert panel. Researchers will iteratively develop and evaluate the codebook throughout Year 1 and into Year 2 using existing pilot videos utilizing panoramic teacher-focused video technology to capture three full weeks of activities and practices in each studied classroom. In Year 2, researchers will train coders and assess their reliability while also preparing for recruitment and field testing to begin in Year 3. During Year 3, field testing will take place in three waves (fall, winter, spring) with a full week of video collected from each of 20 classrooms at each wave. Teacher self-reports (fall only) and reports of child school readiness (fall and spring) will be collected and the iterative coding of video, beginning shortly after wave 1, will continue into the summer of Year 4. Finally in Year 4, researchers will analyze the field test data.

Control Condition: There is no control condition for this study.

Key Measures: Measures of student outcomes will include Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation, Preschool Learning Behaviors Scale, Student-Teacher Relationship Scale—Short Form, Individualized Classroom Assessment Scoring System, and Classroom Assessment Scoring System. Measures of teachers will include the Teachers' Social–Emotional Learning Beliefs Scale, Self-Expressiveness in the Classroom Questionnaire, Coping with Children's Negative Emotions Scale-Teacher, and Teachers' Interactional Style Questionnaire.

Data Analytic Strategy: Initial measure development will be informed by a review of research, practice, and policy documents and by results of expert panel reviews and preliminary psychometric analyses. Later reliability and validity testing will rely primarily on item response theory (IRT) methods (i.e., multi-facet Rasch model), generalizability theory approaches, and multi-level regression models.