An Experimental Assessment of a Newly Revised Democratic Maturity Test for High School Usage

By Reiger, Robert C. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, June 2000 | Go to article overview

An Experimental Assessment of a Newly Revised Democratic Maturity Test for High School Usage


Reiger, Robert C., Journal of Instructional Psychology


This is an experimental assessment of the present status of The Democratic Maturity Test (DEMO) for use with high school students. It is clear that the mean for part score entitled "Self-esteem" is too high, and must be revised immediately. All of the other scores seem to be functioning properly.

The Democratic Maturity Test (DEMO) is being developed for use in the assessment of individual's readiness for successful living in a democracy. It is based on the theory described by John Dewey that "a democracy is the interdependence of independent individuals." It has 200 true/false type items distributed in eight part scores, with the first four dedicated to assessing independence as "Personal Maturity," and the second four for measuring interdependence as "social Integration." The DEMO test has gone through more than a half dozen different revisions, and 7 of the 8 part scores appear to be in the final stage of such assessment.

High School Population

The high school assessment population included 121 senior high school students from a typical high school in New Jersey ranging In age from 15 to 19 years with a mean age of 15.95. and a standard deviation of 1.06 years. It included 66 female and 55 male students. There were 70 9th grade students (freshmen), 30 10th grade students (sophomores), 15 11th grade students (juniors) and only six 12th grade students (seniors) involved.

Validity of Student Scores

The Discerning Score is comprised of 21 pairs of test items that are either opposite to each other, or not compatible. A score of 15 or higher is considered to represent invalid test data. Not a single student obtained an invalid score, and characteristic erasing of scores in student records suggest serious test taking.

Independence of Eight Part Scores

First, and foremost we are concerned about the independence of organization of the eight part scores, and the degree to which they might overlap in terms of their functional content. A principal component factor analysis, using a constant was computed using varimax rotations with rotated factors as depicted in Table 1, below. There is a total independence of the eight part scores, each with a loading at the 900 level and with not a single significant contamination evident--scores of 300 level or better. The total variance is equally distributed among the eight part scores: 12 in each one.

Table 1

Principal Components Factor Analysis of DEMO Part Scores (N = 121)

                                                   Factors
Scores                       I        II        III       IV

Conformity         CFM      948(*)   -122       062       110
Assertiveness      ASS     -116       964(*)    058      -020
Sympathy           SYM      058       057       967(*)    061
Efficacy           EFF      103       019       061       970(*)
Caring             CAR      107       138       134       084
Locus of Control   LOC      168       098      -001       111
Coping Skills      COP      146       195       169       070
Self-esteem        EST      122       014       149       177

Scores              V        VI       VII       VIII      % TV

Conformity         104      170       136       114       12. … 

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An Experimental Assessment of a Newly Revised Democratic Maturity Test for High School Usage
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