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  • 1.
    Ritoša, Andrea
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
    Measurement of child engagement in early childhood education and care2023Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Children's engagement is a widely studied concept in the field of education, early interventions, and disability research. High engagement among children is consistently associated with desired academic, social, and emotional outcomes. However, the engagement of young children in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings has received less systematic attention. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the measurement of child engagement in ECEC and related conceptualizations of the construct. The thesis includes two empirical studies and two literature reviews on child engagement in ECEC.

    The first empirical study validates the Engagement Versus Disaffection with Learning: Teacher Report questionnaire in a Swedish preschool class. The relationship between a questionnaire of school engagement and questionnaire of child engagement was also investigated. Second study is a scoping literature review exploring how child engagement is conceptualized and operationalized in ECEC settings. For the third study, a subset of the identified studies using two or more measures of child engagement was included in an in-depth review exploring how multimethod measurement of child engagement is implemented in ECEC settings and what are the associations between different measures of child engagement. Lastly, a profile analysis of observed momentary engagement and global engagement was performed among a sample of preschool children in Sweden to investigate typical and atypical engagement profiles.

    Findings show that observations are the dominant method for measuring young children’s engagement in ECEC, while teacher questionnaires are mostly used for assessing academic engagement in kindergarten classes in US. Self-reports where young children can report about their own engagement are extremely rare. Child engagement can be rated as low and high in value, as a category that either is or is not present, or as a variable that can be qualitatively described and coded on mutually exclusive categories, even within a same study.

    Although we discovered a strong correlation between child engagement and school engagement in the Swedish preschool class, suggesting that these constructs are highly similar, literature review indicates that the conceptualization and measurement of school engagement and engagement of young children in ECEC differ in several aspects. Child engagement is dominantly associated with behaviors and seen as contextual, whereas school engagement includes internal aspects and can be seen as a stable tendency or even a trait of the child. Results from empirical studies and the in-depth literature review show that teacher questionnaires of child engagement, even if they nominally assess different aspects of engagement, tend to correlate higher than questionnaires and observations of child engagement. This indicates that questionnaires and observations of child engagement tap into qualitatively different aspects of what is considered engagement. Low global engagement in children is rare and probably more indicative of problems in functioning than low observed engagement. On the other hand, high observed engagement can indicate child’s potential for high engagement within a certain context, partly independent of child’s global engagement. Observations of child engagement are more sensitive to changes induced by interventions, whereas teacher-rated global engagement serves as a stronger predictor of future outcome.

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  • 2.
    Ritoša, Andrea
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
    Multimethod measurement of child engagement in ECEC – use and association between different measures: A scoping literature reviewManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Ritoša, Andrea
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
    Preschool Social Environment and Observed Involvement of Highly Hyperactive Children and Their Preschool Peers2019Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 4.
    Ritoša, Andrea
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD. Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Sweden.
    Validation of the School Engagement Questionnaire Engagement Versus Disaffection With Learning: Teacher Report in Swedish 6th Graders2022In: Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, ISSN 0734-2829, E-ISSN 1557-5144, Vol. 40, no 4, p. 549-558Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The factor structure of the measure of school engagement 'Engagement Versus Disaffection with Learning: Teacher Report' was investigated in the sample of 360 Swedish 6th graders. Confirmatory factor analyses showed no support for the suggested four-factor structure including behavioural engagement, emotional engagement, behavioural disaffection and emotional disaffection. Exploratory analyses resulted instead in solutions differentiating between indicators of engagement and indicators of emotional problems. A four-factor solution including factors of positive engagement, disengagement, internalized and externalized emotional problems had the best fit. Positive engagement and disengagement factors showed good internal consistency with omega coefficients exceeding 0.95 and are deemed suitable for further use. Several challenges of measuring the complex construct of school engagement are discussed.

  • 5.
    Ritoša, Andrea
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
    Almqvist, Lena
    Department of Psychology, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden.
    Danielsson, Henrik
    Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
    Granlund, Mats
    Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Department of Social Work. Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ. CHILD. Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
    Profiles of State and Trait Engagement of Preschool ChildrenManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 6.
    Ritoša, Andrea
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
    Almqvist, Lena
    Malardalen Univ, Dept Psychol, Vasteras, Sweden..
    Danielsson, Henrik
    Linkoping Univ, Dept Behav Sci & Learning, Linkoping, Sweden..
    Granlund, Mats
    Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Department of Social Work. Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ. CHILD.
    Profiles of State and Trait Engagement of Preschool Children2024In: Early Education and Development, ISSN 1040-9289, E-ISSN 1556-6935Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research Findings: This study examined the engagement of 494 preschool children in Sweden (M = 53.44 months, SD = 10.64) using both teacher questionnaires to measure global engagement (trait) and observations to measure momentary engagement (state). Using a person-oriented approach with cluster analysis, we identified five distinct profiles of global and momentary engagement, with four of them showing discrepancies between global and observed engagement levels. We found that age, hyperactivity, and second language learner (SLL) status were related to a specific engagement profile. Specifically, children high in hyperactivity tended to be in clusters with higher momentary engagement than global engagement, whereas second language learners were overrepresented in clusters with lower momentary engagement. Practice or Policy: The findings suggest that global and observed measures of engagement capture different aspects of children's engagement and should not be used interchangeably. Children with low engagement ratings on both measures of engagement are more likely to have an extreme score on the global engagement measure, indicating that difficulties they experience will be more noticeable in their global engagement. On the other hand, displays of high levels of momentary engagement could signal children's inherent potential, prompting tailored encouragement and support within Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings and promoting their overall engagement levels.

  • 7. Ritoša, Andrea
    et al.
    Bajšanski, Igor
    University of Rijeka.
    Učinak broja opcija na promjenu preferencija uslijed odluke [Number of Options and Choice-Induced Preference Change]2015In: Društvena istraživanja, ISSN 1330-0288, Vol. 24, no 2, p. 281-300, article id 159.955.3Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Decisions not only reflect but also shape preferences. Making a choice between two equally attractive options alters the preferences in a way that the evaluation of a chosen option increases, while the evaluation of a non-chosen option decreases. Preference change is a way of dealing with choice-induced cognitive dissonance. The aim of this study was to examine whether the choice-induced preference change differs when the number of options in the choice task is considered. Research was carried out on 57 subjects. Their task was to evaluate the attractiveness of travel destinations, choose between two, four or six equally or unequally attractive options, and then to re-evaluate them. It was found that after making a choice between equally attractive options, the chosen options became more attractive. This effect was stronger in the tasks with more options. The desirability of rejected options was lower after the choice was made, and this effect was stronger in the tasks with a smaller number of options. With easy choices, there was no significant difference in preference change for chosen and non-chosen alternatives. These findings support the idea that decisions shape preferences.

  • 8.
    Ritoša, Andrea
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD. Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Sweden.
    Danielsson, Henrik
    Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Sweden, and Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
    Sjöman, Madeleine
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD. Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Sweden; Skolutveckling och ledarskap, Malmö Universitet.
    Almqvist, Lena
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD. Department of Psychology, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden.
    Granlund, Mats
    Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Dept. of Social Work. Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ. CHILD. Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD. Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Sweden.
    Assessing school engagement: Adaptation and validation of “Engagement Versus Disaffection With Learning: Teacher Report” in the Swedish educational context2020In: Frontiers in Education, E-ISSN 2504-284X, Vol. 5, article id 521972Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    To follow the trajectories of children's engagement in learning, validated measures of engagement appropriate for different ages and educational contexts are needed. The purpose of this study was to adapt and validate the school engagement questionnaire (Engagement Versus Disaffection with Learning: Teacher Report, EDL) in the Swedish educational context, and to investigate if it assesses the same construct as a measure of engagement used for children of preschool age. After translating the questionnaire to Swedish, cognitive interviews were conducted with six teachers to check for interpretability and relevance of the items. For psychometric validation, teachers of 110 6 to 7-year-old children filled out EDL on two occasions two weeks apart. On the first occasion, they also filled out the Child Engagement Questionnaire, a measure of global engagement intended for children of preschool age. Dimensional structure, convergent validity, test-retest reliability, and internal consistency of EDL were investigated. Factor analysis provided support for differentiating between behavioral and emotional components of school engagement. Measures of school and preschool engagement used in this study correlated highly, which provides support for using them to study the engagement of children as they develop, and their educational contexts change. The subscales of behavioral and emotional engagement showed good test-retest reliability and internal consistency.

  • 9.
    Ritoša, Andrea
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
    Mc Hugh, Elaine
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
    Nylander, Elisabeth
    Jönköping University, The University Library.
    Åström, Frida
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
    Karlsson, Elin
    School of Health Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.
    Assessing young children’s engagement in preschool - a scoping review protocol [protocol]2021Other (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Description: The purpose of this project is to conduct a scoping review of studies that assess engagement of young children in early childhood educational settings, and explore how measures of engagement are related to theoretical conceptualisations of engagement in young children.

  • 10.
    Ritoša, Andrea
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
    Åström, Frida
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
    Björck, Eva
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
    Borglund, Lisa
    Malardalens Univ Vasteras, Sch Hlth Care & Social Welf, Vasteras, Sweden..
    Karlsson, Elin
    Orebro Univ, Fac Med & Hlth, Sch Hlth Sci, Orebro, Sweden..
    McHugh, Elaine
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication. Galway Mayo Inst Technol, Galway, Ireland..
    Nylander, Elisabeth
    Jönköping University, The University Library. Seattle Childrens Hosp Lib & Informat Commons, Seattle, WA USA..
    Measuring Children's Engagement in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings: A Scoping Literature Review2023In: Educational psychology review, ISSN 1040-726X, E-ISSN 1573-336X, Vol. 35, no 4, article id 99Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this scoping review was to explore operationalizations and related conceptualizations of young children's engagement in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings. The literature search was conducted in March 2021 across ERIC, PsycINFO, Scopus, and Web of Science databases, with the aim of identifying studies where child engagement or involvement in ECEC settings was quantitatively assessed. The search resulted in 5965 articles, of which 286 were included in this review. Data were extracted about engagement conceptualization, theoretical frameworks, study population, study design, and engagement measurement tools and methods. Findings show variations in definitions and measurement of child engagement. Almost two-thirds of the studies lacked an explicit definition of child engagement. Young children's engagement was typically defined as behaviors and interactions with the social and material environment, while involvement was depicted as an internal experience. The most common method of measuring children's engagement in ECEC was observations by an external observer, followed by teacher surveys. Seventy-seven unique established measures of child engagement were identified. About one-third of the identified studies relied on unestablished measures of child engagement. Measures of general child engagement in ECEC had a focus on behavioral aspects of engagement, whereas most measures with a focus on engagement in academic activities also included cognitive and emotional aspects. To advance the research of child engagement in ECEC settings, more attention should be put into clarifying the concept of child engagement in terms of its generalizability, specificity, and temporality. Corresponding operationalizations should be precisely described. Our recommendations also include validating existing measures of child engagement and developing self-reports for young children.

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