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    Development and validation of the teacher SEC scale (T-SECS) using Item Response Theory

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    [EMBARGOED UNTIL 8/1/2024] The purpose of this dissertation study was to develop a comprehensive and effective self-report scale, Teacher Social-Emotional Competence Scale (T-SECS) using Item Response Theory (IRT) to measure social and emotional competence in teachers in order to facilitate future research regarding teacher SEC's predictive validity. The prioritization of social-emotional competence (SEC) has been primarily focused on students with little to no attention on teacher SEC (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009). The limited available research regarding teacher SEC suggests that it may be correlated with positive student and classroom outcomes such as healthy teacher-student relationships, effective classroom management, and effective implementation of SEL curricula (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009). There are no known and published assessments of teacher SEC. Several studies that have examined teacher SEC have used scales of well-being, efficacy, emotion regulation, physical symptoms, psychological distress, depression, and mindfulness (Jennings et al., 2017; Jennings et al., 2013; Jennings & Greenberg, 2011), which are all limited in their capacity to measure the social and emotional experiences of teachers. Based on the literature on scale development using IRT, a conceptual framework for the item pool was first identified through a thorough review of relevant content from SEC literature (Revicki, Chen, & Tucker, 2014). Consequently, a three-phase approach was used to meet the purpose of the study: (1) conceptual framework and item generation (2) item development and content validity, and (3) psychometric evaluation, scale refinement and validation. The study was guided by the following research questions: (1) Do the data meet the IRT assumptions of unidimensionality, local independence, and monotonicity? (2) When using a polytomous IRT model, do any items require removal due to poor statistical performance? (3) When using a polytomous IRT model, is the selfreport measure of teacher SEC reliable and valid? After running initial psychometric analyses, the item pool of twenty-six items was reduced to nine items. The final scale of T-SECS met all three assumptions without compromising content validity. Psychometrically, T-SECS discrimination parameters values indicated that all nine items were able to discriminate between participants well based on their levels of SEC. Results of the fit indices suggested that the Graded Response Model used to standardize the T-SECS appeared to be appropriate. Individual item fit showed that seven out of the nine items fell significantly above p value of .1, which indicates good item fit. At the overall test level, the final T-SECS scale was found to be most reliable at the left and middle ends of the scale, indicating that the scale could estimate SEC more precisely for participants with low and average-to slightly above average levels of SEC.Includes bibliographical references
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