Research shows that both cognitive, and social and emotional skills improve life outcomes at a societal and an individual level. Considerable information exists on the development of cognitive skills but is lacking for social and emotional skills.
Further research is needed on:
► how social and emotional skills develop across childhood and adolescence
► how these skills develop across different cultural and educational settings
► the policies and practices that work in fostering these skills
► how, when and under what conditions such policies and practices should be applied to best support students.
Policy makers, teachers, school administrators and parents are looking for more insights to the following questions:
► Which social and emotional skills predict children’s outcomes in the areas of education, civic participation, social connectedness, health and general well-being?
► Which factors in family contexts, such as parenting styles and learning resources available at home, predict children’s social and emotional development?
► Which factors in school contexts, such as teaching methods, school curricula or specific practices, predict children’s social and emotional development?
► Which factors in peer and community contexts, such as relationships with friends, and participation in activities predict children’s social and emotional development?
► How do the factors that influence social and emotional skills vary across different cultures and educational systems, and across the two cohorts (students, ages 10 and 15)?
“Social and emotional skills” differ from cognitive skills, such as literacy or numeracy, because they mainly involve how people manage their emotions, perceive themselves and engage with others, rather than their ability to process information.
In order to assess these skills, the Study draws on a well-known framework in the field of social and emotional skills – the Big Five model.
The model includes a cluster of mutually related social and emotional skills within five broad domains. For example, the domain of collaboration encompasses empathy, trust and co-operation. Apart from showing their mutual similarity, these groupings also ensure a systematic, comprehensive and balanced consideration of individuals’ social and emotional skills.
Out of the 19 skills that were assessed in the Study’s Field Trial in 2018, a broad and balanced set of 15 skills were chosen for the Main Study based on their policy relevance, validity and reliability. Two indices, a compound skill (self-efficacy) and achievement motivation, are also included, created from items that are used to evaluate other skills in the assessment.