Assessing Early Childhood Social and Emotional Development
Key Conceptual and Measurement Issues
This paper takes stock of key issues that have emerged across the papers of this special issue on measuring early childhood social and emotional development, as well as in the broader literature anchoring these papers. While we include separate sections focusing on conceptual and measurement issues, it quickly becomes clear that the two are intertwined. The ﬁeld lacks conceptual and deﬁnitional clarity, thus hindering our understanding of the focus and utility of speciﬁc measures. Indeed, our overarching conclusion is that the greatest progress will be made when measures of young children's social and emotional development are clearly mapped onto an agreed-upon conceptual framework that both distinguishes social and emotional development from other broad domains (such as cognitive development), and includes carefully delineated and deﬁned subdomains (broad areas within social and emotional development, such as emotional competence), constructs (speciﬁc aspects within subdomains, such as emotion knowledge), and corresponding behaviors.