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Educational Research: Instruments (caveat emptor)

EDU 8603 Educational Research Richard M. Jacobs, OSA, Ph.D.


tools researchers use to collect data for research studies (alternatively called tests)

The types of instruments

1. Cognitive Instruments 2. Affective Instruments 3. Projective Instruments

1. Cognitive instruments...

Measure an individuals attainment in academic areas typically used to diagnose strengths and weaknesses

Types of cognitive instruments...

achievement tests
provide information about how well the test takers have learned what they have been taught in school achievement is determined by comparing it to the norm, the performance of a national group of similar students who have taken the same test

aptitude tests
measure the intellect and abilities not normally taught and often are used to predict future performance typically provide an overall score, a verbal score, and a quantitative score

2. Affective instruments...

Measure characteristics of individuals along a number of dimensions and to assess feelings, values, and attitudes toward self, others, and a variety of other activities, institutions, and situations

Types of affective instruments...

attitude scales
self-reports of an individuals beliefs, perceptions, or feelings about self, others, and a variety of activities, institutions, and situations frequently use Likert, semantic differential, Thurstone , or Guttman scales

values tests
measure the relative strength of an individuals valuing of theoretical, economic, aesthetic, social, political, and religious values

personality inventories
an individuals self-report measuring how behaviors characteristic of defined personality traits describe that individual

3. Projective instruments...

Measure a respondents feelings or thoughts to an ambiguous stimulus

Primary type of projective test...

associational tests participants react to a stimulus such as a picture, inkblot or word onto which they project a description

Selecting an instrument...
1. determine precisely the type of instrument needed 2. identify and locate appropriate instruments 3. compare and analyze instruments 4. select best instrument

Instrument sources
Burros Mental Measurements Yearbook Tests in Print PRO-ED Publications Test Critiques Compendium ETS Test Collection Database ERIC/AE Test Review Locator ERIC/Burros Test Publisher Directory

Rules governing the selection instruments...

1. the highest validity 2. the highest reliability 3. the greatest ease of administration, scoring, and interpretation 4. test takers lack of familiarity with instrument 5. avoids potentially controversial matters

Administering the instrument...

1. make arrangements in advance 2. ensure ideal testing environment

3. be prepared for all probable contingencies

Two issues in using instruments...

1. Validity: the degree to which the instrument measures what it purports to measure 2. Reliability: the degree to which the instrument consistently measures what it purports to measure

Types of validity...
1. Content validity 2. Criterion-related validity 3. Construct validity

1. Content validity: the degree to which an instrument measures an intended content area

forms of content validity sampling validity: does the instrument reflect the total content area? item validity: are the items included on the instrument relevant to the measurement of the intended content area?

2. Criterion-related validity: an individual takes two forms of an instrument which are then correlated to discriminate between those individuals who possess a certain characteristic from those who do not

forms of criterion-related validity concurrent validity: the degree to which scores on one test correlate to scores on another test when both tests are administered in the same time frame predictive validity: the degree to which a test can predict how well individual will do in a future situation

3. Construct validity: a series of studies validate that the instrument really measures what it purports to measure

Types of reliability...
1. Stability 2. Equivalence 3. Internal consistency

1. Stability (test-retest): the degree to which two scores on the same instrument are consistent over time

2. Equivalence (equivalent forms): the degree to which identical instruments (except for the actual items included) yield identical scores

3. Internal consistency (split-half reliability with Spearman-Brown correction formula , KuderRichardson and Cronbacks Alpha reliabilities, scorer/rater reliability): the degree to which one instrument yields consistent results

Terms associated with instruments...

Data the pieces of information researchers collect through instruments to examine a topic or hypothesis

Constructs abstractions of behavioral factors that cannot be observed directly and which researchers invent to explain behavior

Variable a construct that can take on two or more values or scores

Raw scores the number of items an individual scored on an instrument

Measurement scales the representation of variables so that they can be quantified

Measurement scales...
Qualitative (categorical) 1. nominal variables Quantitative (continuous) 2. ordinal variables 3. interval variables 4. ratio variables

1. nominal (categorical): classifies persons or objects into two or more categories

2. ordinal (order): classifies persons or objects and ranks them in terms of the degree to which those persons or objects possess a characteristic of interest

3. interval: ranks, orders, and classifies persons or objects according to equal differences with no true zero point

4. ratio: ranks, orders, classifies persons or objects according to equal differences with a true zero point

Norm reference provides an indication about how one individual performed on an instrument compared to the other students performing on the same instrument

Criterion reference involves a comparison against predetermined levels of performance

Self reference involves measuring how an individuals performance changes over time

Operationalize the process of defining behavioral processes that can be observed

Standard error of measurement an estimate of how often a researcher can expect errors of a given size on an instrument


True or false

a large standard error of measurement indicates a high degree of reliability


True or false a large standard error of measurement indicates low reliability


True or false most affective tests are projective


True or false the primary source of test information for educational researchers is the Burros Mental Measurements Yearbook

True or false research hypotheses are usually stated in terms of variables


True or false similar to a Thurstone scale, a Guttman scale attempts to determine whether an attitude is unidimensional

True or false validity requires the collection of evidence to support the desired interpretation

True or false researchers should first consider developing an instrument rather than utilizing a published instrument

True or false a researchers goal is to achieve perfect predictive validity


True or false predictive validity is extremely important for instruments that are used to classify or select individuals

True or false a high validity coefficient is closer to 1.00 than 0.00


True or false norm reference and criterion reference are synonymous terms

True or false criterion related refers to correlating one instrument with a second instrument; the second instrument is the criterion against with the validity of the second instrument is judged

True or false a valid test is always reliable but a reliable test is not always valid

True or false it is difficult to state appropriate reliability coefficients because reliability, like validity, is dependent upon the group being tested, i.e., groups with different characteristics will produce different reliabilities

True or false content validity is not compromised if the instrument covers topics not taught

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the tendency of an individual to respond continually in a particular way

response set

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a study which consists of two quantitative variables


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a study which consists of one categorical and one quantitative variable

experimental or causal-comparative

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a study which consists of two or more categorical variables

correlational or descriptive

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data collection methods which emphasize student processes or products


Fill in the blank data collection methods including multiple-choice, true-false, and matching

Fill in the blank data collection methods in which students fill in the blank, provide a short answer, or write an essay

Fill in the blank an instrument administered, scored, and interpreted in the same way no matter where or when it is administered

Fill in the blank the term that includes the general process of collecting, synthesizing, and interpreting information, whether formal or informal

Fill in the blank a formal, systematic, usually paper-and-pencil procedure for gathering information about peoples cognitive and affective characteristics

Fill in the blank the degree to which individuals seek out or participate in particular activities, objects, and ideas

Fill in the blank also called temperament, the characteristics representing an individuals typical behaviors and describes what individual do in their natural life circumstances

Fill in the blank things individuals feel favorable or unfavorable about; the tendency to accept or reject groups, ideas, or objects

Fill in the blank deeply held beliefs about ideas, persons, or objects

Fill in the blank requires administering the predictor instruments to a different sample from the same population and developing a new equation

Which type of test Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

personality inventory

Which type of test Stanford-Binet

achievement test

Which type of test Strong Campbell

interest inventory

Which type of test SRA Survey of Basic Skills

achievement test

Which type of test Weschler Intelligence Scales

aptitude test

Which type of test Gates-McGinitie Reading Test

achievement test

Which type of test Otis-Lennon School Ability Test

aptitude test

Which type of test Kuder Occupational

interest inventory

Which type of test Rorschach Inkblot Test


Which type of test Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator

personality inventory

Which type of test Iowa Test of Basic Skills

achievement test

Which type of test Thematic Apperception Test


Which type of validity compares the content of the test to the domain being measured

Which type of validity Graduate Record Examination


Which type of validity correlates scores from one instrument to scores on a criterion measure, either at the same or different time

Which type of validity amasses convergent, divergent, and content-related evidence to determine that the presumed construct is what is being measured

Which type of reliability scores on one instrument are consistent over time
stability (test-retest)

Which type of reliability the extent to which independent scorers or a single scorer over time agree on the scoring of an open-ended instrument

Which type of reliability scores correlate between similar version of an instrument given at different times
equivalence and stability

Which type of reliability scores correlate between two versions of a test that are intended to be equivalent
equivalence (alternate forms)

Which type of reliability the extent to which items included on an instrument are similar to one another in content
internal consistency

Which type of response scale an individual gives a quantitative rating to a topic where each position on the continuum has an associated score value
semantic differential

Which type of response scale value points are assigned to a participants responses to a series of statements

Which type of response scale participants select from a list of statements that represent differing points of view from those which participations agree

This module has focused on...

which describes the procedures researchers use to select individuals to participate in a study

The next module will focus on...

qualitative research
...the tools researchers use to gather data for a study