Knowing Every Child: Validation of the Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) as a Measure of Social-Emotional Development

Malti, Tina and Zuffianò, Antonio and Noam, Gil (2017) Knowing Every Child: Validation of the Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) as a Measure of Social-Emotional Development. Prevention Science. ISSN 1573-6695

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Knowing every child’s social-emotional development
is important as it can support prevention and intervention approaches to meet the developmental needs and strengths of children.
Here, we discuss the role of social-emotional assessment
tools in planning, implementing, and evaluating preventative strategies to promote mental health in all children and adolescents.
We, first, selectively review existing tools and identify
current gaps in the measurement literature. Next, we introduce the Holistic Student Assessment (HSA), a tool that is based in our social-emotional developmental theory, The Clover Model, and designed to measure social-emotional development in children and adolescents. Using a sample of 5946 students (51% boys, Mage = 13.16 years), we provide evidence for the psychometric validity of the self-report version of the HSA. First, we document the theoretically expected 7-dimension factor structure
in a calibration sub-sample (n = 984) and cross-validate its structure in a validation sub-sample (n = 4962). Next, we show measurement invariance across development, i.e., late childhood (9-to 11-year-olds), early adolescence (12- to 14-year-olds), and
middle adolescence (15- to 18-year-olds), and evidence for the HSA’s construct validity in each age group. The findings support the robustness of the factor structure and confirm its developmental sensitivity. Structural equation modeling validity analysis in a multiple-group framework indicates that the HSA is associated with mental health in expected directions across ages. Overall, these findings show the psychometric properties of the tool, and we discuss how social-emotional tools such as the HSA can guide future research and inform large-scale dissemination of preventive strategies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is the accepted version of an article published in Prevention Science. The final version can be found at
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Antonio Zuffiano
Date Deposited: 10 May 2017 08:51
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2017 11:27

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