Original Research

Validation of the emotional social screening tool for school readiness

Erica Munnik, Emma Wagener, Mario Smith
African Journal of Psychological Assessment | Vol 3 | a42 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajopa.v3i0.42 | © 2021 Erica Munnik, Emma Wagener, Mario Smith | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 November 2020 | Published: 21 June 2021

About the author(s)

Erica Munnik, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Emma Wagener, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Mario Smith, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

The need for contextually appropriate and accessible school readiness assessment instruments in South Africa is well documented. The Emotional Social Screening tool for School Readiness (E3SR) screens for emotional and social competencies as a component of school readiness. This competency-based screening instrument was developed as a nine-factor model consisting of 54 items. This research study reports on the psychometric properties and factor structure of the E3SR by exploratory factor analysis. Ten preschool centres registered under the Social Welfare Act in the Cape Town Metropolitan region situated in the high-, middle- and low-socio-economic status (SES) areas constituted the research setting. A pilot study using a survey design was conducted. The E3SR protocols were completed by teachers on Grade R children during the fourth term of the academic year. The data set of 330 protocols satisfied the assumptions for inferential statistics, except for normal distribution. Normality was violated statistically; however, given the time frame, learners were expected to have mastered the competencies measured. Therefore, the violation of normal distribution was supported theoretically. Exploratory factor analysis yielded a six-factor structure, including Emotional maturity, Emotional management, Sense of self, Social skills, Readiness to learn and Communication. All the extracted factors displayed an adequate internal consistency, with a good reliability (α = 0.97). The E3SR can be shortened from 56 to 36 items without losing any important content. The E3SR can supplement formative assessments and enhance communication between role players to build children’s emotional and social competencies.

Keywords

emotional social competence; E3SR; factor structure; school readiness; South Africa; validation study

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