Academic journal article Journal for Educational Research Online

A Psychometric Analysis of a Large-Scale Social Competence Inventory for Elementary School Children

Academic journal article Journal for Educational Research Online

A Psychometric Analysis of a Large-Scale Social Competence Inventory for Elementary School Children

Article excerpt

Abstract

The present study provides a psychometric analysis of a large-scale inventory that consists of a student self-description questionnaire and a parent questionnaire (24 items each) concerning fourth-grade students' social competence. Two aspects of the inventory's construct validity are analyzed: factorial validity is analyzed by examining the factor structure underlying the items through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Convergent and discriminant validity are analyzed in three ways: by examining a multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) matrix of the student and parent questionnaires, gender differences of the inventory's social competence dimensions, and the relationship of the inventory's social competence measures to measures of students' cognitive competence (school grades, standardized test scores and a measure of general cognitive competence). Participants (N^sub students^ = 4,492, 49 % girls; N^sub parents^ = 3,696, 63 % female) were part of the German sample of the international school achievement study Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007. Results suggest that it is largely justified to interpret measures produced by the inventory as appraisals of students' social competence in a large-scale context.

Keywords

Social competence; Elementary school; Psychometric analysis; Construct validity; Large-scale assessment; TIMSS 2007

Psychometrische Analyse eines Sozialkompetenzinventars für Grundschulkinder im Large- Scale-Kontext

Zusammenfassung

Die vorliegende Studie ist eine psychometrische Analyse eines Inventars zur Einschätzung der Sozialkompetenz von Viertklässlem im Rahmen eines Large-ScaleSettings. Das Inventar besteht aus einem Schüler-Selbsteinschätzungsfragebogen und einem Eltern-Fremdeinschätzung sfragebog en (je 24 Items) zur sozialen Kompetenz von Viertklässlem. Zwei Konstruktvaliditätsaspekte des Inventars werden untersucht: Die faktorielle Validität wird anhand der den Items zugrunde liegenden faktoriellen Struktur über explorative und konfirmatorische Faktorenanalysen untersucht. Konvergente und diskriminante Validität werden in dreifacher Hinsicht untersucht: anhand einer Multitrait-Multimethod-(MTMM-) Matrix des Schüler- und Elternfragebogens, anhand der durch das Inventar produzierten Geschlechtsunterschiede sozialer Kompetenz und zuletzt anhand des Zusammenhangs zwischen den Sozialkompetenzmaßen und Maßen kognitiver Schülerkompetenz (Schulnoten, Schulleistung in standardisierten Leistungstests und ein Maß kognitiver Grundfähigkeit). Die Stichprobe (NSchüler = 4492, 49 % Mädchen; NEItern = 3696, 63 % weiblich) ist Teil der deutschen Stichprobe der internationalen Schulleistung sstudie Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study ÇTIMSS) 2007. Die Ergebnisse legen nahe, dass es in einem LargeScale-Setting weitgehend gerechtfertigt ist, die durch das Inventar erzeugten Maße als Einschätzungen sozialer Kompetenz zu interpretieren.

Schlagworte

Soziale Kompetenz; Grundschule; Psychometrische Analyse; Konstruktvalidität; Large-Scale Assessment; TIMSS 2007

1. Introduction

As a matter of principle, human behavior occurs within a social context (Roth, 1971, p. 386). Consequently, social scientists of diverse disciplines have delineated the importance of social functioning for a successful journey through life: evolutionary psychologists have presented "a 'social' hypothesis for the origin of intellect" (Byrne & Whiten, 1992, p. v). Educational psychologists have pointed out the beneficial or detrimental role of social behavior for future social and cognitive outcomes (Wild, Hofer, & Pekrun, 2006, p. 255). Educational economists have revealed the labor market's increasing demand for skills involving human interaction, understanding, and persuasion (Levy & Murnane, 2007, pp. 167 ff.).

In the present study, we use the term social competence for the concept of successful social functioning. Following the definition proposed by Kanning (2002, p. …

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