Child Behavior Measures

The Observed Child Engagement Scale

The behavioral codes were adapted from the NICHD-ECCRN Classroom Observation Scale (NICHD, 2005) based on extensive pilot observations in kindergarten and first grade classrooms. These scales include five dimensions including compliance, engagement, self-reliance, attention, and disruptive behavior (reverse scaled).

With the Observed Child Engagement Scale, observers conduct classroom observations lasting a minimum of 10 minutes and take notes and assign a one to seven rating on the five dimensions.  In a validation study, correlations between behavioral engagement in learning (as measured by the OCES) and the duration of time engaged was r = .73 (p < .001), suggesting strong concurrent validity. The coding manual provides indicators of behaviors associated with engagement.

Global Engagement Ratings

Global Engagement Coding


Ponitz, C. C., Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Grimm, K. J., & Curby, T. W. (2009). Kindergarten classroom quality, behavioral engagement, and reading achievement. School Psychology Review, 38, 102-120. Abstract

Curby, T. W., Rimm-Kaufman, S. E. & Ponitz, C. C. (2009). Teacher-child interactions and children’s achievement trajectories across kindergarten and first grade. Journal of Educational Psychology,101(4), 912-925. Abstract

Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Curby, T. W., Grimm, K. J., Nathanson, L. & Brock, L. L. (2009). The contribution of children’s self-regulation and classroom quality to children’s adaptive behaviors in the kindergarten classroom. Developmental Psychology , 45(4), 958-972. Abstract


The Survey of Early School Adjustment Difficulty

This teacher-report measure, developed by Rimm-Kaufman, Nathanson and Brock, was based on the Transition Practices Survey developed by the National Center for Early Development and Learning (Rimm-Kaufman, Pianta, & Cox, 2000). The questionnaire includes 11 common problems associated with transition difficulty. For example, questions include, “This child lacks academic skills,” or “This child has shown difficulty working as part of a group.” Teachers respond to these statements using a 1 to 5 scale.

The Survey of Early School Adjustment Difficulty provides a single composite score indicating difficulty with the transition to school based on the mean of the 11 items. Internal consistency reliability based on kindergarten and first grade children in a rural sample ranged from .90-.91.

Use Measure


Nathanson, L., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., & Brock, L.L. (2009). Kindergarten adjustment difficulty: The Contribution of children’s effortful control and parental control. Early Education and Development, 20(5), 775-798. Abstract

Ponitz, C. C., Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Brock, L. L. & Nathanson, L. (2009).  Early adjustment, gender differences, and classroom organizational climate in first grade.  The Elementary School Journal, 110(2), 142-162. Abstract