Using Survey Scores to Estimate Social-emotional Growth

Jan 27, 2020 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

Seminar Series: Using Survey Scores to Estimate Social-emotional Growth: Implications for Psychology, Education, and Policy

Jim Soland, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia
A huge portion of what we know about how humans develop, learn, behave, and interact is based on survey data. In education, the vast majority of our knowledge on students’ social-emotional development is based on survey scores because related mindsets and competencies are not observed and difficult to quantify. For example, how children develop skills to regulate their behaviors and how adolescents develop confidence in their academic abilities have both been studied primarily using surveys. Evidence suggests healthy development in such social-emotional competencies is integral to long-term educational attainment outcomes like finishing high school and attending college, as well as later life outcomes like earnings and happiness in adulthood (Dweck, Walton, & Cohen, 2011). Yet, while we know that measurement bias common to surveys can affect scores at a given timepoint (especially self-report bias), little is known about how these biases affect growth estimates. This series of studies will examine how much measurement bias affects our understanding of students’ social-emotional growth, including in a quasi-experimental context. Implications for education, policy, economics, and psychology research will be discussed.