Review Article

Instruments measuring emotional-social competence in preschoolers in South Africa: A review study

Cebokazi N. Mtati, Erica Munnik
African Journal of Psychological Assessment | Vol 5 | a111 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajopa.v5i0.111 | © 2023 Cebokazi N. Mtati, Erica Munnik | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 April 2022 | Published: 11 January 2023

About the author(s)

Cebokazi N. Mtati, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Erica Munnik, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

South African children still enter mainstream education with their emotional and social well-being compromised. Therefore, an awareness of and emphasis on emotional social competencies as a domain of school readiness is essential. This review aimed to identify and describe instruments measuring emotional and social competency as a domain of school readiness in preschoolers and report on their psychometric properties. The study utilised a systematic review design. Peer-reviewed articles that met the inclusion criteria were identified from six literature databases using Boolean phrases. Grey literature was also considered. The title search yielded 3872 articles. Fifty-four articles were screened based on the abstract. From among these, four articles met the minimum threshold of 80% in the appraisal phase, proceeded to data extraction and were subjected to thematic synthesis in the summation phase. The Emotional Social Screening Tool for School Readiness (E3SR), the Emotional Competence for Screening for Preschoolers (SCE), the Social Competence for Screening for Preschoolers (SCS), the Preschool Behavioural and Emotional Rating Scale (PreBERS) and the School Readiness Screening Instrument for Grade 00 (pre–grade R) were identified as instruments that measure domains of emotional social competence in preschool children. The instruments displayed good psychometric characteristics. The E3SR and the School Readiness Screening Instrument for Grade 00 were locally constructed and deemed contextually appropriate for use in the South African context. The need for locally developed, standardised, cost-effective measures to supplement assessment in the educational environment remains a focus for further research.

Contribution: This review contributed to the body of knowledge related to contextually appropriate, psychometrically sound, accessible and affordable screenings available to schools and parents to assess emotional and social competencies in preschoolers in South Africa.


Keywords

assessment; emotional social competency; instruments; preschoolers; school readiness; South Africa

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