Beyond Academics: Evaluating Socio-Emotional and Motivational Skills through Behavioral Measures in Large-Scale Assessments


Author(s): Beleri Stavroula*

Socio-emotional and motivational skills are routinely measured using self-reports in large-scale educational assessments. Measures exploiting test-takers behaviour during the completion of questionnaires or cognitive tests are increasingly used as alternatives to self-reports in the economics of education literature. We compute behavioural measures of socio-emotional and motivational skills using data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). However, these measures are only limitedly correlated among themselves and have low correlations with self-report measures of the same constructs. This is likely a reflection of the fact that behavioural measures are representations of the test taker current ‘state’, rather than descriptions of the participant view of their own ‘trait’ like the self-report measures. Moreover, the low correlation across measures suggests that they capture different behavioural responses to the test-taking situation. These differences are still limitedly understood because the measures are constructed ex-post using collateral information collected during the administration of assessments rather than developed ex ante in line with theoretical models of human cognition and affect.


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