Social competence: An untapped dimension in evaluating head start's success

C. Cybele Raver, Edward F. Zigler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From its inception, Head Start has maintained children's social and emotional adjustment as a primary goal of intervention, but researchers have yet to settle on a consensus definition of social competence that can be used in developmental research and program evaluation. To address this gap in our knowledge base, we offer a comprehensive review of the extant research on children's social skills, including their ability to modulate their feelings, their social cognitions, and their behaviors within the context of peer interaction, as measures of social competence. We then examine definitions of social competence in light of assessments of children's performance, as assessed by parents, teachers and peers. Based upon this review, we offer a comprehensive set of concrete policy recommendations for the assessment of social competence as a key indicator of programmatic success, when evaluating early childhood intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-385
Number of pages23
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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