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America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2017

Relationships Between Victimizing Peers and Socioemotional Skills and Behaviors

In addition to reporting on the frequency of students victimizing their peers, children's teachers also rated the frequency with which students demonstrated five aspects of socioemotional behavior in the spring of 2014: approaches to learning, self-control, interpersonal skills, externalizing problem behaviors, and internalizing problem behaviors. The approaches to learning scale measured how often students exhibit positive learning behaviors in seven areas: attentiveness, task persistence, eagerness to learn, learning independence, ability to adapt easily to changes in routine, organization, and ability to follow classroom rules. The self-control scale measured students' ability to control behavior by respecting the property rights of others, controlling their temper, accepting peer ideas for group activities, and responding appropriately to pressure from peers. The interpersonal skills scale measured students' skill in forming and maintaining friendships; getting along with people who are different; comforting or helping other children; expressing feelings, ideas, and opinions in positive ways; and showing sensitivity to the feelings of others. The externalizing problem behaviors scale measured the frequency with which a student argues, fights, gets angry, acts impulsively, disturbs ongoing activities, and has the tendency to talk at times when the student is not supposed to be talking. The internalizing problem behaviors scale measured the frequency with which a student exhibits the apparent presence of anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem, and sadness.

Higher scores on each of these five continuous scales from 1 (Never) to 4 (Very often) indicate that a student exhibited the behaviors represented by the scale more often. For the approaches to learning, self-control, and interpersonal skills scales, higher scores represent a higher frequency of positive behaviors, while higher scores on the externalizing and internalizing problem behavior scales represent a higher frequency of negative behaviors.

Indicator SPECIAL7: Fall 2010 first-time kindergartners' mean interpersonal skills ratings in 3rd grade by type of victimization and frequency of victimizing their peers, spring 2014
Indicator SPECIAL7: Fall 2010 first-time kindergartners' mean interpersonal skills ratings in 3rd grade by type of victimization and frequency of victimizing their peers, spring 2014

NOTE: Estimates weighted by W7C27P_7T70. Estimates pertain to a sample of children who were enrolled in kindergarten for the first time in the 2010–11 school year. In 2013–14, most of the children were in 3rd grade, but 6 percent were in 2nd grade or other grades (e.g., 4th grade, ungraded classrooms). The interpersonal skills scale is based on teachers' reports on the student's skill in forming and maintaining friendships; getting along with people who are different; comforting or helping other children; expressing feelings, ideas, and opinions in positive ways; and showing sensitivity to the feelings of others. Possible scores on the scale range from 1 to 4, with higher scores indicating that a child interacted with others in a positive way more often.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011), Kindergarten–3rd Grade Restricted-Use Data file.

  • Third-graders who were identified as perpetrators of each type of incident explored in this feature received the lowest ratings from their teachers on the approaches to learning, self-control, and interpersonal skills scales, indicating that they demonstrated these positive behaviors less often than their peers. For example, the mean rating on the interpersonal skills scale for students who were reported to frequently tell lies or untrue stories about other students was a 2.0, whereas students who were reported to do so sometimes or rarely had a mean rating of 2.7, and students who were reported to never do so had a mean rating of 3.4.

Indicator SPECIAL8: Fall 2010 first-time kindergartners' mean externalizing problem behaviors ratings in 3rd grade by frequency of victimizing their peers, and type of victimization, spring 2014
Indicator SPECIAL8: Fall 2010 first-time kindergartners' mean externalizing problem behaviors ratings in 3rd grade by frequency of victimizing their peers, and type of victimization, spring 2014

NOTE: Estimates weighted by W7C27P_7T70. Estimates pertain to a sample of children who were enrolled in kindergarten for the first time in the 2010–11 school year. In 2013–14, most of the children were in 3rd grade, but 6 percent were in 2nd grade or other grades (e.g., 4th grade, ungraded classrooms). The externalizing problem behaviors scale measured the frequency with which a student argues, fights, gets angry, acts impulsively, disturbs ongoing activities, and talks at inappropriate times. Possible scores on the scale range from 1 to 4, with higher scores indicating that a child exhibited problem behaviors in a negative way more often.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011), Kindergarten–3rd Grade Restricted-Use Data file.

  • Third-graders who were identified as perpetrators received the highest ratings from their teachers on the externalizing and internalizing problem behavior scales, indicating that they demonstrated these negative behaviors more often than their peers. For example, the mean rating on the externalizing problem behaviors scale for students who were reported to frequently push, shove, slap, hit, or kick other students was a 3.1, whereas students who were reported to do so sometimes or rarely had a mean rating of 2.2, and students who were reported to never do so had a mean rating of 1.5.

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