🔵SE: Theoretical background

Globalisation and modernisation are creating an increasingly diverse and interconnected world. To understand and function well in this world, individuals need, for instance, to master changing technologies and understand the vast amounts of information available. They also face collective challenges as societies, such as balancing economic growth and environmental sustainability.

The OECD launched the DeSeCo project in 2005, with the aim of ranking the skills that the next generation should develop in order to be prepared for and cope with the challenges and complexity of a globalised world. Among them, "interacting in heterogeneous groups" stands out, which makes the ability to relate well with others, cooperate, work in teams and resolve conflicts crucial, we are talking about Socio-emotional Competences.

At present, the implementation at European level of competence-based training plans raises the need to design programmes that favour the learning of these competences. Such competences are understood as the result of putting knowledge, attitudes and some personality characteristics into practice (Pereda and Berrocal, 2001), while involving five levels of human functioning (Repetto, 2006): knowing, knowing how to do, knowing how to be, wanting to do and being able to do.

Research shows that students who are more successful academically have higher levels of social-emotional competences. They also show how certain depressive states and low social adaptation are linked to poor academic performance.

Similarly, there are studies that prove that the application of programmes for the development of emotional intelligence in schools not only increases the learning process and academic success, but also favours the social integration of the students, preventing risk factors such as absenteeism, dropout, violence and future unemployment.

The school's function is global education and the development of the relevant dimensions of knowledge, which is why it must incorporate the development of social and emotional competences in the planning of objectives. The school should introduce collaborative methodologies for the achievement of curricular objectives related to interpersonal relationships and social integration.

The school can become a fundamental environment in the emotional learning of the student, due to the number of hours and years that the student spends there as well as the significance that school experiences and the teacher can have in their lives.

In conclusion, it is essential to teach values and strategies that increase the ability to work with others in an interdependent and positive way. To this end, it is necessary to develop socio-emotional competences in the classroom and to know how our students relate to each other in the classroom. To this end, we have designed a self-assessment test aimed at students to evaluate some of the emotional competencies that are of interest for the teacher's educational practice, together with socio-metric techniques. The results of this test offer us a global vision, through diagrams, of the social and emotional skills that are present in the classroom.


With the "Socioemotiogram" test, we set the following objectives

  • Analyse the emotional and social competences of the group.

  • Provide a graphic diagram of the emotional state and relationships of the group.

Description of the test

  1. The first part is a situational test where a performance with dialogues is shown and 5 questions are asked about the situation depicted.

  2. The second part of the test consists of a self-assessment questionnaire with about 36-40 items, depending on whether it is aimed at elementary or high school.

  3. The third part of the test consists of a sociogram of individual and group influences and rejections, with 6 questions.

  4. The fourth part, where the student has to incorporate classmates according to the label on the boxes, dragging with the mouse, in order to obtain the integration of the students and group cohesion.

  5. A final addition, a small scale of sincerity with 8 questions to check the truthfulness of the questions or the impulsiveness of the students in their answers.

Aim at

It is aimed at students from the 4th grade of elementary school up to high school. The test has a version applicable to elementary school and another for high school.

The part of the test that assesses social interactions can also be applied to students in the 2nd and 3rd grades of elementary school. This test can be applied in all groups and as many times as the teacher considers necessary.

Competences assessed

The emotional competences covered by the test are:

  • Empathy

  • Assertiveness

  • Interpersonal Regulation

  • Teamwork

  • Conflict Resolution

The classroom social interactions analysed are:

  • Group influence

  • Group rejection

  • Group integration

  • Group cohesion

Theoretical reference model

The DeSeCo (2005) project's conceptual framework for key competences classifies three broad categories that form the basis of what will become the Key Competences established by the OECD in the different education systems. These categories are:

On the other hand, following the approach proposed by the research carried out by the Partnership21 or ATC21s projects of the University of Melbourne, collaboration and communication will be one of the central skills for school development, which will also be subject to international assessments.

PISA 2015 proposes a new assessment of students' skills, which is precisely related to these social competences. It will assess the ability of students to solve problems in a collaborative way "Collaborative Problem Solving" because it is considered essential for the development of future generations, and therefore, for working at school.

There seems to be sufficient scientific basis to support the implications of social-emotional learning for academic success, as well as for "Success in Life" (Zins et al.,2004). In fact, it is worth noting that the scores obtained in some instruments that measure social-emotional competences significantly predict the average mark of university students (Repetto, 2009:16), without forgetting that there are other factors such as the teacher-student relationship.

Professor Javier Tourón, an expert in the development of talent, proposes the following characteristics in today's education, including the development of social and emotional competences.

To better understand the definition and the behaviour that encompasses social-emotional competence, we have chosen the words of the psychologist Miguel Costa Cabanillas, from the UAM, expert in Public Health: "It is a social-interpersonal behaviour that is effective in obtaining positive results from the social environment in a peaceful manner and respectful of the rights and choices of others in the environment. A person is said to be socially and emotionally competent when he/she is easy to get along with others, knows how to make friends, copes without particular difficulty with relationships and conflicts that arise, converses smoothly and without stumbling, expresses his/her views and disagreements without making others feel attacked, knows how to say "no" and reject dangerous offers from friends without them feeling hurt or belittled, knows how to reach agreements, tolerates disagreement well and dares to maintain options different from those of friends, values himself positively and is respectful of options different from his own".

Emotions, being subjective, are difficult to study and measure. They tend to be studied from a qualitative rather than quantitative point of view (behavioural observation, expressions, gestures, responses, verbalisations, etc.), although self-reports are increasingly used, thanks also to new technologies.

Emotional issues should start to be taken into account in psycho-pedagogical assessments, as they are often more predictive of the aetiology of school problems than purely intellectual aspects (Gallego and Gallego, 2004).

The terms "social competence", "assertiveness", "social skill", "social problem solving" and more recently, "emotional intelligence", have been used interchangeably to signify that central component of social behaviours: being or becoming effective in social and emotional environments.

Goleman (1999), influenced by Gardner's multiple intelligences, leaves aside the different skills that human beings can develop, and points out two specific competencies within the framework of emotional competence: personal and social, which correspond to intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence.

In order to better understand these concepts, we present below the diagram of the theoretical model of socioemotional competencies R&D SEJ2004 07648 (E. Repetto, 2004) on which we based the development of the test. Specifically, focusing on the interpersonal aspects on the right, which we mark in the red circle. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Multiple intelligences

The interpersonal intelligence is a skill that is closely related to the emotional intelligence as it involves skills to understand others, to motivate them and to cooperate with them. It is built on an empathic capacity and enables human beings to understand the intentions, emotions and desires of others even if the other person does not explicitly verbalise them.

Gardner (1998), who introduced a novel concept of intelligence with the description of multiple intelligences, affirmed that "...good results in the execution of a task may depend on a team of individuals”. Goleman (1999:279) affirmed after the analysis of scientific data that "the group mind may be much more intelligent than the individualised mind".

In order to construct the relevant scales of social-emotional competencies focusing on interpersonal skills, described above, we have reviewed a number of highly regarded assessment instruments:

  • MSCIT- Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test. A test designed to assess emotional intelligence as an ability. A test of ability whose answers represent real aptitudes for solving emotional problems. It is designed for people over 17 years of age. The four main areas of emotional intelligence according to Mayer and Salovey's model that it measures are:

    1. Emotional perception

    2. Emotional facilitation

    3. Emotional understanding

    4. Emotional management.

  • TMMS-24, based on the Trait Meta-Mood Scale (TMMS) of Salovey and Mayer's research group. The original scale is a trait scale that assesses meta-awareness of emotional states using 48 Likert scale items. Specifically, the skills with which we can be aware of our own emotions as well as our ability to regulate them. It contains three key dimensions of EI with 8 items each:

    1. Emotional Attention

    2. Clarity of Feelings

    3. Emotional Repair.

  • PEYDE test developed by Gallego Gil and Gallego Alarcón. This test analyses the educational practice and emotional development of teachers. The instrument consists of 50 Likert response items, distributed in five scales:

    1. Emotional awareness

    2. Emotional control

    3. Empathy

    4. Relationship skills

    5. Problem-solving skills.

  • Socioemotional competences inventory (ICOSE, 2005). Composed of 57 Likert scale items, which are distributed in the following categories:

    1. Emotional self-awareness

    2. Motivation

    3. Empathy

    4. Social competences.

  • Grambill and Ritchey Assertiveness Inventory (GRAI) with 40 items to assess both the degree of anxiety and the probability of response and to analyse assertiveness.

  • Socioemotional Competence Scale ECSE 2007 (Repetto). Analyses the level of development of basic socioemotional competencies in a differentiated manner. The instrument is made up of 38 items that respond to a 5-point Likert scale in which the following dimensions are assessed:

    1. Emotional self-awareness

    2. Emotional self-regulation

    3. Interpersonal emotional regulation

    4. Empathy

    5. Motivation

    6. Teamwork

    7. Conflict resolution.

On the other hand, focusing attention on the group, in order to assess the social relations and interactions that occur in the classroom, and thus know the impact that the group of students has on each of its members; we decided to incorporate sociometric techniques to the scale to complete it. This allows us to have a global vision of the classroom in the bonds of influence and preference that exist in the group as well as the indexes of integration.

The analysis of social interaction in the classroom allows us to:

  • Detect problems of social maladjustment

  • Determine methodological strategies for teamwork, cooperative learning, grouping.

Sociometric results can help teachers in the following aspects, according to Gil Pascual (2011):

  • Detecting influential students in the group.

  • Detecting students who are rejected.

  • Discovering antagonistic groups

  • Finding the most influential students in order to guide the group positively.

The result offers us:

  • Sociogram: this allows us to graphically observe the links of influence, preference and rejection between the students in the classroom, pairs, subgroups or leaders.

  • Social distance scale: This allows us to graphically observe the integration or disintegration of the students in the group. A student is integrated when he/she maintains a network of interrelations with other members of the group, which generates a feeling of positive interdependence. Finally, it also allows us to know the degree of group cohesion.

Scales analysed in the Socio-emociogram

As we have seen, the test is composed of the analysis of interpersonal emotional competences and the degree of group interaction.

The definition of each of the subscales assessed by the test is described below:

1. Socio-emotional competences

We have defined social-emotional competences as the set of knowledge, abilities, skills and attitudes necessary to understand, manage and express emotional states and social behaviour appropriately and effectively in a given situation.

The socio-emotional test is limited to collecting data on interpersonal competences that directly affect the group of students in order to improve their interaction, share information and improve their learning.


This is the awareness of the feelings, needs, concerns of others, and even the understanding of the physical and psychological situations that another person is going through without verbalising it. Ability to give an appropriate response to others through a deep understanding of their emotional and cognitive world, while still distinguishing between one's own self and the self of others (Repetto, 2007). "The ability to recognise, understand and connect with the emotions of others allows us to understand the point of view of others and the emotion from which they experience an event". (Esther García Navarro 2011)


The construct was first proposed by Wolpe (1958) and later by Alberti and Emmons (1970), who understand it as: -the behaviour that fosters equality in human relationships, allowing us to act in defence of our own interests, to defend ourselves without unjustified anxiety, to express our feelings sincerely and pleasantly, and to put our personal rights into practice while respecting the rights of others.

Interpersonal Emotional Regulation

Ability to appropriately manage the emotions of the people around us (Salovey, 2005). It has been proven that we try to change the emotional state of the people around us, either to make them feel better (in the face of a loss, an upset), or to make them feel worse (making them feel guilty, for example) (Rimé, 2012) (Rimé, 2012).


This involves making the most of the collective talent produced by each person in their interaction with others. The development of teamwork is a spiral process, the effectiveness of which depends on the extent to which the group also contributes to the personal development of its members.

Conflict resolution

Conflict is inherent in nature and occurs in all areas of development. If, when a conflict arises, we know how to manage it and how to analyse what causes it, we are in a moment of personal development. However, when conflict appears, what response do we give? This subscale refers to "the transition from a painful emotional state, produced by opposing and contradictory desires or interests, to a state of well-being and tranquillity on the part of all those previously involved in the conflict situation" (Repetto, 2007).

2. Social interactions

What we usually recognise as teaching and learning in school occurs through exchanges between teachers and students. These exchanges take place in highly organised patterns of interaction, a product of the personal interests and history of the participants and the local constraints that unfold in these face-to-face encounters.

The group exerts an influence on its members and its members on the group. Groups, when constituted with an identity (i.e. the classroom of 5th B), are structured with implicit or explicit norms. Therefore, understanding the functioning of the interaction within the classroom and being able to establish considerations about the educational implications that this has are objectives that are relevant in themselves.

With the test we are going to know the level of:

Group interaction

One member of the group, or a group minority, can exert great influence on the group. Sometimes the influence can be creative and constructive and sometimes the influence can be due to fear, submission, etc... In the test results we will be able to observe who or who influences the group without determining its aetiology.

Group integration

A student can be said to be "integrated" in the classroom when he/she maintains a network of interrelationships with the rest of the group and they generate a feeling of dependence on the group.

Group rejection

The rejected member of a group suffers the consequences of rejection which may be undermining their self-esteem, confidence and motivation to learn from the group and to perform well academically. We can observe students who are directly rejected by others.

Group cohesion

The concept of cohesion describes those processes that contribute to the members of a group remaining together. In other words, cohesion exists when the system of interrelationships that functions among its members keeps them satisfactorily linked to the group.

Results interpretation

1. Emociogram

The results are collected graphically, on one side corresponding to the emotional area, and on the other to the area of group interactions and integration:

  • On the Y-axis is the emotional score, from 0% to 100%. The higher the score, the greater the emotional ability.

  • Each score on the X-axis corresponds to a scale (Empathy, Assertiveness, Emotional regulation, Problem solving, Teamwork).

  • The magnitude of the bubble corresponds to the number of students who have high, low or medium competence on that scale, depending on whether it is higher or lower.

How would the above emotiongram be interpreted?

2. Sociogram

In the proposed sociogram, the name of each of the students in the class is shown in the circle with different colours. By hovering the mouse over each one, all the relationships are eliminated and only those of the marked student appear, which will give us information about the influences of the class, the leader or the rejected students.

As we have said, by hovering the mouse over each student, the influence or rejection that he/she makes and receives will be clearly visible. As a group, it allows the teacher to observe the following phenomena or social typologies:

  • The leader: Receives many elections and few rejections.

  • The grey eminence: Practically isolated person, who has almost only a mutual relationship with the leader.

  • The isolated one: Does not receive elections and does not choose anyone.

  • The outcast: chooses others but is not chosen by anyone.

  • The partial loser: Receives fewer acceptances than rejections.

  • The total loser: Only receives rejections.

  • On the equator: A person who receives acceptances and rejections in a balanced way.

  • The controversial: Receives many acceptances and many rejections.

We can also observe:

  • A dyadic relationship: When two students choose each other.

  • A triangle: Three students choose each other. It is usually a close-knit subgroup with influence on the dynamics of the group, which is greater if one of them serves as a personal bridge to the rest and is chosen by other students in the class.

  • A chain: This occurs when e.g. John chooses Harry, Harry chooses Anthony, Anthony chooses Peter... Influence comes when one of them is close to the leader.

  • A star: Usually receives many choices. Serves as the axis of the group. Their collaboration or not with the teacher will determine whether or not the group accepts the teacher. Translated with DeepL

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