The Penn Interactive Peer Play Scale for kindergarten: Building essential linkages in early childhood assessment

Virginia Ruth Hampton, University of Pennsylvania


The development of social competence is essential for children's successful adjustment to kindergarten, particularly for children living in disadvantaged urban areas who are vulnerable to school failure. For young children, a primary component of social competence is establishing effective interactions with peers during play. To inform the development of practices that promote this competency in kindergarten, quality assessment measures are needed. These instruments must have the capacity to establish linkages between the home and school, and between preschool and kindergarten. A promising early childhood assessment instrument is the Penn Interactive Peer Play Scale (PIPPS), a rating scale with teacher and parent versions. Although its validity has been established for preschool, the capability of this instrument to assess interactive peer play across the school transition had not been evaluated. The present study examined the validity of the PIPPS system in kindergarten with urban, ethnic minority children, by investigating: (1) the construct validity, and the congruence of the constructs to the preschool version; (2) the concurrent validity with a standardized assessment measure of social competence; (3) the predictive validity to first grade school performance; and (4) the relationships between the teacher and parent versions. Exploratory factor analyses revealed three constructs of peer play interactions: Play Disruption, Play Disconnection, and Play Interaction. Using factor matching analyses, these constructs demonstrated congruence with the preschool version. Concurrent validity was established through canonical correlation analyses, indicating that the PIPPS measures components of social competence. Furthermore, bivariate and multivariate correlation analyses demonstrated that the PIPPS predicts to first grade academic performance. Explorations of the relationships between the teacher and parent versions found that the two versions measure congruent constructs. Finally, the use of canonical correlation analyses indicated that teacher and parent reports primarily correspond regarding observations of problems in children's interactive peer play. These results support the use of the PIPPS for urban, ethnic minority kindergarten children. Implications of these results for future research, policy and practice in kindergarten were discussed.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Preschool education|Educational evaluation

Recommended Citation

Hampton, Virginia Ruth, "The Penn Interactive Peer Play Scale for kindergarten: Building essential linkages in early childhood assessment" (1999). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9953540.