Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Specialist in Education (Ed.S.)



First Advisor

Lisa Kelly-Vance

Second Advisor

Bridgette O. Ryalls

Third Advisor

Kathy Coufal


Play assessment is rapidly emerging in the field of cognitive assessment in young children. One aspect of play assessment involves the identification of the types and levels of problem-solving skills children possess. Information about a child’s degree of problem-solving skills could aid school psychologists in understanding the child’s level of cognitive development. Research in the area of play assessment has not focused as much attention on problem solving as it has on other components of play. More research is needed in order to determine if a free play session or an adult-facilitated session is better for assessing a child’s problem-solving skills using play assessment. The purpose of the present study was to identify differences in problem-solving behaviors when assessment takes place in a nonfacilitated versus a structured facilitated play assessment session. Twenty children ages 18-48 months were observed playing in either a structured facilitated or a nonfacilitated setting. It was expected that differences in the level of problem-solving behaviors would exist between the two types of play sessions and that certain toys would elicit more problem-solving behaviors than others. Results indicated that there was not a significant difference in the level of problem solving exhibited by children in the facilitated or the nonfacilitated sessions. Considerations for future research are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons