​Ohio State selected to help lead international study on children

Center for Human Resource Research will develop, manage survey

By: Jeff Grabmeier

Published on May 17, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research (CHRR) has been selected by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to help lead a multinational study on social and emotional skills in children.

The Study on Social and Emotional Skills will survey 10- and 15-year-olds in 10 to 12 cities around the world to identify the conditions and practices that foster or hinder the development of those critical skills.

The study will be led by Elizabeth Cooksey, professor of sociology at Ohio State and director of CHRR, and Randall Olsen, professor emeritus of economics and former CHRR director, in conjunction with OECD staff.

“There’s growing recognition that children’s success depends on more than just intelligence and how they perform academically,” Cooksey said.

“Whether it is at work, in their relationships, or with their families, social and emotional skills are as crucial as cognitive skills in determining how well people do in life. This study aims to explore those issues.”

The OECD is the best organization to lead a study like this, Cooksey said. It is an intergovernmental organization with 35 member countries, including the United States, which promotes policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

CHRR will design the study, which will survey 3,000 10-year-olds and 3,000 15-year-olds in each city, as well as their parents and teachers.

“We want to end up with an improved understanding of how social and emotional skills contribute to children’s development. The ultimate goal is to be able to recommend policies and practices that will support the development of those skills,” Cooksey said.

Cities around the world have been asked to apply to participate in the study. Cities are expected to have made the decision to participate by next April.

The CHRR staff will spend this year and early next year developing the survey instruments, and working with partners to have them translated into all the languages necessary.

The surveys will be field tested in 2018. The study will be administered in 2019, with CHRR researchers conducting an analysis of the data in 2019 and 2020. The public release of the findings by the OECD is expected in late 2020.

The CHRR, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, was selected to manage the study because of its experience running large, complex social science surveys, Cooksey said. Most notable are the National Longitudinal Surveys, a related group of seven surveys (three ongoing) that have interviewed more than 54,000 Americans over the past 50 years.

Others at Ohio State involved in the new project include Stanley Lemeshow, professor of public health; Dawn Anderson-Butcher, professor of social work; and Paul De Boeck, professor of psychology.

Key outside partners include Padmini Iyer from Oxford University, Fritz Drasgow of the Drasgow Consulting Group, Research Support Services and cApStAn, a Belgium firm that will provide translations of the survey instruments.


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Jeff Grabmeier
614-292-8457 | Email

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