Award Date

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational & Clinical Studies

First Committee Member

Tracy Spies

Second Committee Member

Cori More

Third Committee Member

Margarita Huerta

Fourth Committee Member

Chyllis Scott

Number of Pages



Parent and teacher perspectives of young children’s social competence were compared by analyzing parent and teacher ratings of 30 dual language learners and 30 monolingual native English-speaking children. Parents and teachers rated children on the Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) rating scales. Participants were 60 parents and 9 teachers of 3-to-5 year-old children who attended a Head Start preschool center. For each child, one parent and one teacher completed an SSIS rating scale, resulting in two rating scales for each child. The purpose of this study was to examine whether (a) parent and teacher ratings were significantly different on SSIS measures of social competence for young children and (b) whether parent and teacher ratings were significantly different for children based on children’s language designation. In particular, this study examined both social skills and problem behaviors when looking for differences in parent and teacher ratings.

Results indicated that parent and teacher ratings were significantly different for four of the subscales based on participant category, meaning that the SSIS ratings differed based on whether parents or teachers were completing the rating scales. For the social skills subscale, empathy, results indicated that teachers were likely to give children higher ratings than parents. On the externalizing, internalizing, and hyperactivity/inattention subscales, which are all Problem Behaviors subscales, parent ratings for children were higher than teacher ratings, and these differences were statistically significant.

Parent and teacher ratings on two subscales also differed for children based on their language designation. Results from analysis of the communication subscale, which is a social skills subscale, indicated that parents and teachers rated dual language learners higher than monolingual native English-speaking children. From the Problem Behaviors scale, parent and teacher ratings for bullying were higher for monolingual native English-speaking children than for dual language learners.

Findings from this study also indicate that dual language learners received higher ratings on communication scales and lower ratings on bullying scales than their native English-speaking peers. Further research should more closely examine the relationship between these two constructs. The role of language in the development of social competence is still not well understood, however it is important to understand the developmental trajectory of dual language learners in order to provide the most appropriate educational experiences opportunities for children and their families and improve outcomes.


Dual Language Learners; Emotional Development; Parent Perspectives; Social Competence; Teacher Perspectives



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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