Similarities and Differences in Social and Emotional Profiles Among Students in Canada, USA, China, and Singapore: PISA 2015

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  • Although previous research showed that discrete social-emotional skills such as empathy, motivation, and social relationships in school significantly predict academic achievement, students tend to use various social-emotional skills in combination. As such previous investigations cannot comment on how different combinations or profiles of students’ social-emotional skills predict achievement relative to discrete skills. Likewise, little is known about cross-national comparisons of social-emotional skill profiles (SESP), and the extent to which SESP differ on their academic achievement. The purposes of this study were three-folded: 1) to determine whether a four-factor social-emotional skills model could be used for cross-national comparisons; 2) to identify social-emotional profiles in 15-year old students from four different countries—Canada, the United States, China, and Singapore; and 3) to evaluate how different profiles predict students’ reading, math, and collaborative problem-solving (CPS) test scores as measured in the Programme for International Student Assessment’s (PISA). Our results showed multigroup measurement invariant in the structure, loadings, and thresholds of the four-factor social-emotional skills model. We identified three profiles labeled Sociable, Reserved and Withdrawn in Canada, Singapore, and the United States; whereas, we found three profiles labeled Solitary, Team-oriented, and Reserved in students in China. Finally, the way each profile associated with PISA’s reading, math and CPS in each country appeared to align with the cultural expectations of learning.

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    Article (Draft / Submitted)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International