The ELOM Teacher Assessment (TA) can be used alongside the ELOM Direct Assessment in order to measure aspects of the same child’s behaviour that cannot be reliably assessed by a stranger in a testing situation. The TA can be completed by the child’s teacher (or playgroup facilitator) once she / he has known the child for at least 6 months.
The instrument includes one item to rate the child’s Self Care (degree of independent toileting), and two scales with 6 items each drawn from existing instruments designed to assess aspects of Social and Emotional Functioning in young children. The scales are: Social Relations with Peers and Adults, and the Emotional Functioning Scale. The items are associated with readiness for school.
In the Social Relations with Peers and Adults scale, 3 items assess the quality of interaction with peers, and the ability to manage internal emotional states that may arise in peer-group interactions:
- the ability to work well with peers in group activities,
- the ability to resolve problems with peers without aggression, and
- the ability to cooperate with peers without prompting.
In the same scale, 3 items assess the child’s approach to interactions with familiar adults, and the ability to access support, information, or cooperative experiences with familiar adults:
- the ability to seek support and assistance from familiar adults,
- the ability to seek information or explanation from familiar adults, and
- the ability to take initiative in creating cooperative activities with a familiar adult familiar adults through cooperative activities.
In the Emotional Functioning scale, 6 items are used to assess the child’s approach to the initiation, coordination and preservation of effort during tasks and activities, found in a learning environment:
- ability to communicate with adults,
- appropriate expression of needs and feelings,
- independence and willingness to do things without help,
- ability to adjust to changes in class or home routine,
- confidence in new experiences, and
- initiating activities (the child is a ‘self starter’).
The psychometric properties of the two Teacher Assessment scales
The psychometric properties of the TA were analysed on a sample of 261 children, the majority of whom were drawn from the lowest 3 national income quintiles. Internal consistency (scale reliability) was assessed using Chronbach’s Alpha. Both scales have sound reliability: Social Relations Scale (Chronbach α = .78; Emotional Functioning Scale Chronbach α = .80.) Reliability is not required for Self-Care as it only has one item.
How to capture the Teacher Assessment scores
The ELOM Teacher Assessment form is available for download by accredited ELOM assessors on the ELOM website in six languages (English, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Afrikaans). It is also programmed into the ELOM tablet scoring. Organisations can decide whether to provide teachers with a paper copy of the form to complete in their own time, or for assessors to do a direct interview with the teacher. Scores can then be entered into the tablet into the correct child’s ELOM score. Both the interview and the self completion of the Teacher Assessment form should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.
How to interpret your ELOM Teacher Assessment scores
Note that score ranges on the scales are as follows:
- Self-Care: 1 (completely dependent) to 4 (fully independent).
- Social Relations Scale: 1 (very poor social relations) to 24 (very good).
- Emotional Functioning Scale: 0 (very immature) to 12 (fully age appropriate emotional maturity).
The following are broad guidelines. They are based on the median scores of the sample of 261 children referred to above: that is, the score above which 50% of the children were scored (and 50% below it). It is important to note that these guidelines do not have clinical significance as scores on the Teacher Assessment have not been compared to children’s scores on other measures of psychological functioning.
- Self Care: A score of a 4 on Self Care indicates independent toilet use. This is expected of children aged 50 months or older.
- Social Relations Scale: A score of 17 or greater can be expected for children aged 50-69 months.
- Emotional Functioning Scale: A score greater than 9 can be expected for children aged 50-69 months.