Advancing Educational Research on Children’s Self-Regulation With Observational Measures

Publication Name

Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment


Self-regulation is crucial for children’s development and learning. Almost by convention, it is assumed that self-regulation is a relatively stable skill, and little is known about its dynamic nature and context dependency. Traditional measurement approaches such as single direct assessments and adult reports are not well suited to address questions around variations of self-regulation within individuals and influences from social-contextual factors. Measures relying on child observations are uniquely positioned to address these questions and to advance the field by shedding light on self-regulatory variability and incremental growth. In this paper, we review traditional measurement approaches (direct assessments and adult reports) and recently developed observational measures. We discuss which questions observational measures are best suited to address and why traditional measurement approaches fall short. Finally, we share lessons learned based on our experiences using child observations in educational settings and discuss how measurement approaches should be carefully aligned to the research questions.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Sponsor

National Academy of Education



Link to publisher version (DOI)