Self-Esteem Test for Children (SETC)

Self-Esteem Test for Children

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Self-Esteem Test for Children

What is the Self-Esteem Test for Children (SETC)?

It’s a test that helps you find out how your child compares to other children on self-confidence. It’s an online assessment that children in 3rd through 8th grades complete online. The Feedback section looks like the chart in the window above, and the actual test the child sees looks like the window below.

Why use the Self-Esteem Test for Children (SETC)?

Use the SETC to find out if your child is feeling good about him or herself so you can help clear the way for your child’s talents to be ignited! An unhappy or depressed child doesn’t have the emotional energy to learn at top speed or seek opportunities to help maximize his or her talents. Self-esteem—or people’s perceptions about self and who they are—comes from the environment. Good self-esteem leads to strong confidence. If you discover that your child’s view of self is not positive, you can help to change things and clear the way for success!

What does the SETC measure?

The Self-Esteem Test for Children measures the child's self-perception (feelings of confidence or beliefs about him or herself) in the areas of

The 36 items are presented in the following format:

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A brief interpretation and recommendations are provided to the parents, school counselor, or other mental health professional when the child has completed the profile.

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Who is the SETC for?

This test was originally designed and normed (tested on a group to find the average) for children who are in the 3rd through 8th grades. Why for children in these grades?

There are two main reasons:

  1. children complete the assessment by themselves (although an adult may read the items to younger children), and
  2. most children younger than 3rd grade aged have difficulty with the questions and concepts on the test.

School counselors and child and family therapists can use this instrument, too, as part of any evaluation of a child’s current circumstances and self-concept and self-esteem.

Can younger children take the SETC?

Yes. Dr. Ruf has found the SETC to be effective and informative for use with bright and gifted children younger than the typical age of 3rd graders, but younger children's results will be compared to normative data for 3rd grade students (because that is the youngest grade for which it was originally normed).

Does the SETC consider different settings besides school?

Yes, there is a list at the beginning of the test that lets the parent and child choose which setting—which environment—he or she is thinking about when answering the 36 items.

It says: You and your child should select one of the following contexts for taking this test:

  • Regular classroom
  • Accelerated or full-time gifted classroom
  • Full-time home schooling
  • Outside school lessons, clubs, activities

Your child should then answer the questions with that context in mind. It helps to know which kind of setting the child is thinking about when considering his or her answers, as a child who is very smart but in a full-time gifted classroom might not feel as smart as when he or she is in a regular classroom with a cross-section of learners.

If you wish to look at other contexts, you can have your child take the SETC again using a different context.

Simply select the one that’s closest to what you want to know about, and make sure the child sticks to that setting while answering. You may decide to have a child take the test more than once to compare which setting seems to work the best for him or her.

How do I know that the SETC is any good? Is it valid?

Research indicates that how children perceive themselves is closely correlated with their willingness to participate, their confidence in the different areas, and whether or not they feel depressed, like outsiders looking in.

The online SETC allows for an inexpensive method for the general public to assess how their children feel about themselves in general. High scores indicate the child's “fit” in his or her current activities and environment feel as though they are working well. Low scores indicate something is not working well, the environmental fit may be wrong, and further exploration is needed to determine what the child needs.

Based on the work of Susan Harter at the University of Denver, the online assessment precisely follows the paper-and-pencil original designed by Dr. Harter.

The feedback and interpretation provided to clients—once the child has completed the inventory—is derived from the work of Deborah Ruf, Ph.D., which is based on Harter's work as well as Dr. Ruf’s years of experience using the scales with her own clients.

How can the SETC help my child or me?

The results can help you know if your child is struggling with self-esteem issues—issues of low self-confidence—so that you can work toward making things better.

Because TalentIgniter is a site dedicated to discovering and igniting talents, we provide information that typical school-based or therapeutic treatments might not consider. In today's typical school settings, very bright children often struggle to fit in, struggle to find social acceptance, and end up with the feeling that there is something inherently “wrong” with them. Obviously when a child’s self-confidence in any area is low, it affects how he or she appears to others and if he or she shows willingness to try new things.

We encourage parents and mental health practitioners who use our online Self-Esteem Test for Children in order to consider "School Fit" as a highly probable reason behind some lower SETC scores for bright and gifted children. If the Feedback shows that the child’s self-esteem is low, we encourage parents and mental health practitioners to first work toward identifying what the child needs in order to thrive in the educational setting socially, emotionally, and academically. Make any changes necessary to first achieve that goal. Then, if the child is still not doing well, look for other possible causes and remedies.

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Self-Esteem Test for Children