America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, an annual report of the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (the Forum) has frequently highlighted the need for information on young children's cognitive, social, and emotional development. The Forum's Research and Innovation Committee (RIC) identified the need for better measurement across multiple domains of early childhood, and in particular, the areas of social and emotional development of young children. Measures in this domain are less developed than those in other domains of early childhood development (e.g. cognition, health), and existing measures are rarely included in national surveys.
To address this data need, the Forum awarded a competitive contract to Child Trends. Working with policy makers, researchers and federal survey developers, Child Trends was tasked with preparing several deliverables that would help Forum agencies better understand how early childhood development was currently measured by Federal agencies and how to improve and expand measurement of this critical area.
The following project deliverables are public domain documents and can be accessed on the Forum's Web site, childstats.gov.
These products reflect the work of the contractor and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of the Forum.
The Contract Report, Characteristics of Existing Measures of Social and Emotional Development in Early Childhood: Applications for Federal Reporting and Data Collection, is the overarching deliverable for this project. This Report discusses the length of promising and strong measures (focusing on those that are short and thus most useful to federal agencies) and offers recommended measures by subgroups, ages 0–3 and 4–5, thus easily identifying measures appropriate for use in assessing school readiness. It serves to aid federal stakeholders in their efforts to address key concerns related to time and respondent burden when administering surveys; cost of developing, testing, and administering short measures; and potential policy implications of measurement efforts.
Other components of the project are: the Project Summary, the Summation of Findings from the Culminating Activity, Key Points of the Culminating Activity, by Session, and several commissioned memos authored by subject matter experts in the field.
Contract Report: Characteristics of existing measures of social and emotional development in early childhood
PDF: Characteristics of existing measures of social and emotional development in early childhood: Applications for federal reporting and data collection 1.5 MB
The Project Summary provides a snapshot of the contractual scope of work of this project and discusses accompanying recommendations that underscore the Project's purpose, approach, and limitations.
Inventory of Measures
The Inventory of Measures of Social and Emotional Development in Early Childhood, catalogues existing measures and evaluates their potential for use as: (1) a regularly-appearing indicator in the America's Children reports; (2) an indicator appearing a single time in a special feature of the America's Children reports; or (3) for use in future federal survey data collection.
The following five memos were commissioned from academic experts for each of the four subdomains of social emotional development and executive function.