Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

John Stevenson

Abstract

Social skills are important components of social-emotional functioning that allow children to be successful in both the social and academic spheres of school. A review of social skills intervention literature is presented including issues influencing effectiveness. Concerns associated with assessing the effects of social skills interventions are discussed and a formative assessment tool for behavioral observation is presented. The use of generalizability theory is then examined as a psychometrically based approach to developing a measure for observing social skills. Four prerequisite social skill areas were identified: (a) Attending, (b), Raise Hand, (c) Hands to Self, and (d) Transition. Transition was divided into two components for a total of five observed skills. Students in an elementary school were observed during regular classroom activities on three different occasions for each skill. The reliability of this strategy was evaluated in order to assess the optimal number of occasions and observers needed in order to obtain adequate degrees of reliability. Results identified particular skills that can be observed more reliably than others, and what combination of parameters might lead to optimal reliability. Preliminary descriptive analyses suggest that ethnicity might play a role in student performance of specific skills. Results are discussed in terms of applied use for the measure in school settings for formative assessment and in terms of directions for future research.

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