Assessing young children's social concept development

William B. Stanley, Rosalind Charlesworth, Stephen Looney, Jeffrey Ringuest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A number of questions regarding the nature of social concept development in young children were investigated in this study. In an earlier study, a social concept picture-sorting task was developed to obtain normative data on young children's social concept development. For this replication study, a larger more heterogeneous sample was used consisting of 64 kindergarten and 65 first grade public school students from lower to upper middle-class socioeconomic levels. Profile analysis was used to compare grades, sex, and racial groups. All three variables had a significant impact on performance. Significant differences in difficulty were found among the nine concepts measured. Three of the most difficult concepts (family-not family, those who protect us, and past-present) are commonly included in early childhood curriculum. These results suggest that the level of concept development needs to be considered in planning social studies curriculum and instruction for young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-357
Number of pages17
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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