Teacher and observer ratings of head start children's social skills

Roline Milfort, Daryl B. Greenfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to compare teacher and observer ratings of young children's social behaviors in the context of peer play with both sources using the same measure and instructions. Moreover, we sought to examine and compare the construct validity of the Penn Interactive Peer Play Scale (PIPPS) as a teacher and an observer rating scale. Two hundred and fifteen African-American and Hispanic head start children from 22 classrooms were rated on their social behaviors by their teacher and an observer. The ratings from these two sources produced both convergences and divergences. Both teacher and observer ratings revealed factor structures that reflect play interaction, disruption, and disconnection. However, observer ratings distinguished between nonaggressive disruption and aggressive disruption. Also, teachers were better able to identify positive play behaviors than observers. Furthermore, despite considerable overlap in the factors observed, ratings of individual children by teachers and observers were significantly correlated on only one of the three factors. In light of these findings, the role of teachers and observers in bringing unique perspectives to the assessment of young children's social behaviors is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-595
Number of pages15
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Head start children
  • Observer ratings
  • Penn Interactive Peer Play Scale (PIPPS)
  • Social skills
  • Teacher ratings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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