First, you may be wondering what Sociometrics is. Sociometry is the quantitative study of interpersonal relationships in populations, especially the study and measurement of preferences.
By collecting data from each member of a particular population, an educator has the ability to acquire information that illustrates students who are either well-liked, disliked, or ignored. This data is often put into a Sociogram, which is a map of all these relationships.
Sociograms provide invaluable information that when used correctly, can positively impact the dynamics of a classroom and pinpoint students who are in need of extra care. Further, this self-reporting data could be used as a universal screening tool for the educator to quantify social change, perhaps through character education or other positive behavior systems.
I was able to use this for a large population of students, creating maps for each individual homeroom in a middle school grade level, and the grade level as a whole.
The information we acquired confirmed and revealed students who we knew we needed to help. Not only were individual students impacted by this information, but classroom dynamics as well since teachers were able to focus on the links that needed extra care.
For the future, I foresee this as something that homeroom teachers can have done, or do themselves, as a pre-test/post-test. In addition, it helps the School Counselor have a clear holistic picture of the students in their school. For example, as we are forming classes next year, this is information that can help us stay proactive in avoiding high conflict relationships.
Since we are so used to being with individuals and or groups we hardly see what is happening holistically - this program helps change our perspective.
I also believe that a Sociogram can help identify gaps that have been created within the system - whether those are cultural, racial, gender, etc. and help focus your School Counseling program on closing those gaps. This is perfect for School Counselors as we make our programs align to ASCA Standards.
One of the elements that makes collecting information for your own Sociogram is an almost free tool that I found called Walsh's Classroom Sociometrics. This program instantly does all the work for you, and is very easy to use. I would highly suggest downloading this program for your use if you plan on creating a Sociogram.
In a nutshell, you will take about 15 minutes of a classes time asking them two to four questions. They might sound something like this:
1) Who is someone you prefer to sit next to in the classroom?
2) Who is someone you prefer to sit next to in your entire grade level?
3) Who is someone you would not prefer to sit next to?
They will choose up to four people for each question. I used a form that looks like this:
It is important that they put a first and last name for each response as that will make it much easier for you while entering in data.
From here, you will enter the data into your program and will receive the results.
Let me know if you have any questions about how this all works, and I would be glad to help you. I believe that this is truly an underutilized tool that could really help change the schoolscape.