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Development of Scale of Attitudes Negatively Affecting the Performance I/ Test (POET-I/S)
12th EUROPEAN CONGRESS OF PSYCHOLOGY 2011
Development of Scale of Attitudes Negatively Affecting the Performance I/ Test (POET-I/S)
OLCAY GÜNER1, MUSTAFA OTRAR2
1ARKABAHÇE Psychological Development, Training and Consulting Center; 2MARMARA University, Istanbul, Turkey
The Turkish education has become a system that is marked by “success”; especially, with the “entrance exams”, which can be described as the keys to future endeavors. Parents, teachers and students who take these tests find themselves struggling with a performance competition. To demonstrate what has been learned with a long and tough period of preparation in just a few hours becomes vital. It should be noted that some attitudes developed by the individuals based on various factors may also have negative impacts on the test performance.
The word ‘performance’ has been settled in Turkish language as a word that has a Western origin (performance in French). The Turkish Language Institute defines ‘performance’ as follows: “1. Achieved success. 2. Willingness or power to manage any event or circumstance. 3. The best level that one can reach. 4. A success that is achieved while performing any kind of work of art, play, job etc.” (http://www.tdk.gov.tr, access: 2010). Performance is very compelling for many individuals, because it requires for a person to be in front of a group of audience that he/she is ‘unaware of what they think about him/her’ and to be able to successfully complete a task set by series of motor skills. For each individual, there is a field of performance where the individual is in a sense on stage and that is a test.
Being tested is a condition that causes tension in many people. The Turkish Language Institute defines ‘test’ as follows: a quiz, examination or trial that is hold to measure the level of knowledge of the students or people seeking a new job. 2. fig. a tough situation that requires resistance, solidarity and strength, and finally through which an experience is gained. The dictionary of educational terms, on the other hand, defines test as follows: “A quiz held to measure the level of intellect, talent, knowledge and skills of the students in order to let them pass the class, graduate from a school and to enroll to the next school or for those who are looking for a job.” (http://www.tdk.gov.tr, access: 2010).
In the recent years, increased importance of the tests held in the educational systems and the pressure on the students caused by this has increased test anxiety. Test anxiety is expected to become even more widespread in the future. According to Kondas’ study (1994), test anxiety level has reached to approximately 30% compared to 10% of the past (McDonald, 2001).
One of the first and most important definitions of attitude belongs to Thurstone (1931), he describes attitude as “a positive or negative intensity rank and scaling directed towards a psychological object”.
The attitudes of the individuals are formed based on the organization of their experiences and the knowledge they have obtained. An attitude sets the thoughts, emotions and behavioral dispositions of an individual into harmony. We call these three factors, which are in harmony with each other, the elements of attitude (İnceoğlu, 1993; Kağıtçıbaşı, 1999; Tavşancıl, 2006).
The test attitudes within the factors that have an impact on the test performance have a more comprehensive content than factors such as anxiety, motivation, environmental support, self assessments, and irrational thoughts. Because the attitude of each individual towards the test is a way of reacting, which is subjective and durable for a period of time and which increases towards the particular object of test as a result of a combination of cognitive, emotional and behavioral elements. Therefore, it will be a more holistic approach to address the factors that are negatively affecting the test attitudes in the emotional, mental and behavioral dimensions rather than just addressing anxiety as it is the most frequent one.
When tests are in question, we can mention two objects of attitude: “Test” and the individual who “himself/herself” takes the test. Our previous experiences, learning, the things said by the people that we care about, our observations and our beliefs about both the test and ourselves become attitudes containing elements of thoughts, emotions and behaviors. These attitudes have an impact on our behaviors about the test and hence our performance.
The purpose of the present study is to measure the attitudes that negatively affect the test performance and to analyze the studies of validity and reliability regarding circumstances in Turkey. Scale of Attitudes Negatively Affecting the Performance -I/ Test (POET-1/S) is today becoming a strong source and detailed data provider for future research and therapy models. These therapy models may be about test performance by revealing the elements that negatively affect the test attitude within a range of multiple factors and display the similar aspects concerning thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
The study is a review model, which aims to describe the current situation (Karasar, 2007). In the review model, the researcher aims to describe a past or a present situation as it happened or as it is. It is intended to define the individuals, events or objects that is the subject of the research under their own circumstances and as they are (Karasar, 2004).
The Study Group consists of 663 students between the ages of 12-18 who attended public and private schools in Istanbul between 2009 and 2010.
A five-stage processing was applied during the efforts to develop the scale. In the first stage, notes were taken during the individual interviews with a total of 176 students who applied to the Behavioral Sciences Institute regarding their test performance problems in order to receive feedback the factors negatively affecting their test performance. Each of these students were asked to fill out a semi-structured form on the factors that are possibly cause them to get lost at the test. In the second stage, a total of 116 items were written for the trial POET-1 form and 30 students studying for SBS tests were asked to fill them out while they were on one-to-one surveillance. Their comments and suggestions were taken and after a review of the scale, it was issued with 111 items. In the third stage, the scale was sent to 11 experts, who are competent in their own fields, to receive expert opinions. Following their instructions the scale was revised and arranged with 101 items. In the fourth stage, the scale was reviewed again after it was filled out by 30 students studying for SBS and ÖSS and it was found that the students had no further suggestions or criticism. In the fifth stage, the revised POET-1/S form of 101 items was applied to the study group as described above for factor analysis and validity – reliability studies.
The Validity Analysis
In order to determine the factor structure of the scale; first, the non-rotated principal components analysis was applied and then the analysis was repeated by using the orthogonal Varimax rotation technique with Kaiser Normalization to facilitate interpretation and construction of the determined factors.
Within the framework of the factor analysis, Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure was determined as the first step. Scientifically, the fact that the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure is over .50 shows that the sampling amplitude, within which the validity of the scale is tested, is suitable for factor analysis. For the scale, Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure was found as .948. Based on this result, it was decided that the sampling amplitude is sufficient. As the Barlett test result has turned out to be a statistically significant result on a level of .001, it is understood that the trait measured by the scale is a multidimensional trait at the universe parameter. According to the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin and Barlett test results, the processes regarding the factor analysis undertaken are statistically interpretable.
Total Variances Explained
Total variance quantity demonstrated for the six factors formed is 42.140 %. The quantities of variance demonstrated by the factors are respectively 9.143 % for the first factor, 8.180 % for the second factor, 7.593 % for the third factor, 7.374 % for the fourth factor, 6.724 % for the fifth factor, and 3.125 % for the sixth factor. The components matrix that is transformed after the final factor analysis is shown in Table 3. In its final version, the scale consists of 71 items. Total variance quantity demonstrated for the six factors formed is 42.140 %. The quantities of variance demonstrated by the factors are respectively 9.143 % for the first factor, 8.180 % for the second factor, 7.593 % for the third factor, 7.374 % for the fourth factor, 6.724 % for the fifth factor, and 3.125 % for the sixth factor. The components matrix that is transformed after the final factor analysis is shown in Table 3. In its final version, the scale consists of 71 items.
Table 2. The Correlations between POET Total and Sub-scales
In a valid test, the correlation between the sub-scales and the total test scores should indicate statistically significant and a high correlation. The highest correlation among POET’s total scores and sub-scales was obtained with Factor 3 (r=.845; p<.001). The lowest correlation, on the other hand, was obtained with Factor 6 (r=.106; p<.01). The correlation of all the dimensions with the total scores is statistically significant on a level of p<.001. Again, in a valid test, the correlation between the sub-scales should be neither too high nor too low; however, should yield to a statistically significant result. All the correlations between the sub-scales of POET are significant on the level of p<.01.
The Reliability Analysis
Table 3. Sub-scales Determined as a Result of Factor Analysis and the Reliability Coefficients from these Sub-Scales
As seen in Table 5, total alpha coefficient of POET scale is calculated to be αtot =.953; and the alpha coefficient for the first half is calculated to be αfst= .905; alpha coefficient for the second half is calculated to be αsec =.905; while the Guttman coefficient found by dividing by half is calculated as G=.939 and the Spearman coefficient is calculated as S=.929.
The Cronbach alpha coefficients of the sub-scales vary between α = .903 (F1-Physical Symptoms) and α=.524 (F6- Insufficient Physical Conditions). Guttman coefficients vary between G =.891 (Physical Symptoms) and G=.508 (Insufficient Physical Conditions). Spearman Brown coefficients are between S=.893 (Physical Symptoms) and S=.509 (Insufficient Physical Conditions). It is understood that all the dimensions except for the sub-scale of Insufficient Physical Conditions have very high internal consistencies. Although the alpha coefficient of Insufficient Physical Conditions is found to be average, this sub-scale remained in the scale as the total score of this sub-scale reveals a significant correlation with the other dimensions and, with the total score of the scale.
Table 4. Total Scale Score Correlation and Discrimination Analyses for the Items Included in the POET Total
|r & t||p|
As seen in Table 4, as a result of the Pearson analysis undertaken to determine whether each item constituting the scale is correlated to the total score or not, it is found that the items are significantly correlated to the total score (p.001); and also, as a result of the independent samples t test performed in order to determine the discrimination of each item among the lower and top groups, it is found that the difference between the groups is significant, in other words, it is found that each item is distinguished (p<.001). Same analyses as performed for the POET total is also repeated for POET sub-scales and similar results are established. It is understood that all the items constituting the sub-scales of POET are correlated to the sub-scale totals (p<.001) and distinguished (p<.001).
Table 5. The Relations between Totals and Sub-scales of POET and Test Anxiety Inventory (N=48)
Positive significant correlations was found between the “Physical Symptoms” sub-scale of POET and the “Total” (r=.801; p<.001) as well as “Emotionality” (r=.807; p<.001) and “Worry” (r=.731; p<.001) sub-scale scores of the Test Anxiety Inventory. Positive significant correlation was found between the sub-scale “Anxiety during the test of POET” and “Total” (r=.800; p<.001), “Emotionality” (r=.761; p<.001) and “Worry” (r=.801; p<.001) sub-scale scores of the Test Anxiety Inventory. The correlation between the scores of the “Pessimism” sub-scale of POET and “Worry” sub-scale of the Test Anxiety Inventory is r=.797, and is statistically significant on a level of p<.001. Relation with emotionality reduced a little to r = .684; however, it is still statistically significant on a level of r=.001. The correlation between the pessimism sub-scale and the Test Anxiety has a total score of r = .754 (p<.001). There is a positive correlation between the “Worry” sub-scale of the Test Anxiety Inventory and POET Reluctance/Lack of Motivation subdimension that is significant on a level of .001 (r =.676). Positive significant correlation has been achieved between Emotionality and Reluctance/Lack of Motivation subscales of Poet (r=.493; p<.001). The correlation between Test Anxiety Inventory total scores and the Poet Reluctance/Lack of Motivation subdimension, is .584 (p<.001). No statistically significant correlation was found between the sub-scale of “pressure of the environment” of POET nor the total or sub-scales of the Test Anxiety Inventory (p<.05). Positive statistically significant correlation was found between the “Insufficient Physical Conditions” sub-scale of POET and the total (r=.443; p<.01), emotionality (r=.414; p<.01) and “worry” (r=.426; p<.01) sub-scale scores of the Test Anxiety Inventory. There is a very high correlation between the total scores of the POET scale and the Test Anxiety Inventory (r=.816; p<.001). Similar results are also valid for the “worry” (r=.822; p<.001) and “emotionality” (r=.771; p<.001) sub-scales of the Test Anxiety Inventory.
As is the case throughout the world, in our country, the importance attached to education, career, importance of reputation concerning tangible and intangible factors as well as welfare have become gradually increased. In this respect, schools, universities and institutions organize qualifying examinations that become more and more challenging as a result of the increasing competition. The individuals who will take these tests find themselves in a tough competition of performance after a serious preparation period. The individuals who put all the effort, spend all their time and money in order to prepare for these tests, inevitably may suffer from very high levels of performance anxiety. Nevertheless, despite the reality, in the literature of our country the studies examining the attitudes of students towards these tests are insufficient. The ones that exist are on anxiety (Öner, Albayrak, 1990). Although many studies indicate that anxiety has a negative impact on the attitudes towards tests (Sarason, 1986; Driscoll, Holt, Hunter, 2005; Aydın, Yavuz, Yeşilyurt, 2006; Driscoll, 2006; Miller et al. 2006), studies focusing on the factors that may have a negative impact on the attitudes towards the test, such as the pressure of immediate social environment, economic shortcomings, a pessimist point of view, avoidance, lack of motivation and physical symptoms, are insufficient, and generally appear in the foreign literature (Eliot & McGregor, 2001 as cited in Putwain & Daniels, 2010). The fact that these factors have not been examined in detail in present day Turkey, where entrance exams are taken in almost every stage of life, sets a significant lack of information. Many scales concerning test performance link almost all the factors to anxiety and fail to analyze factors that originally generate anxiety. The factors negatively affecting attitude towards tests include momentary anxiety arising out of uncontrolled excitement but the test attitudes of the students can also be affected by other factors listed above.
Instead of just focusing on anxiety, a better way to study the attitudes affecting test performance is to perform a comprehensive analysis on emotional, behavioral and cognitive levels, since attitudes are comprised of these three elements (Kağıtcıbaşı, 1999, Tavşancıl, 2006). During the tests, behaviors, emotions and thoughts interact with each other; and sometimes as a cause and sometimes as a result, they have a negative impact on the test attitudes and worsen the performance. Physical symptoms and experiences such as a headache, nausea and shaking hands may transform into negative attitudes (Alpert, Haber, 1960 as cited in Putwain & Daniels, 2010; Öner, Albayrak, 1990); while sometimes the immediate social environmental factors such as the pressure from parents, teachers and peers have an impact on thoughts and emotions of individuals, who as a result might develop a negative attitude towards tests (Christenson, Rounds, & Gorney, 1992; Jensen, 2006). Many stimuli (sounds, images, heat etc.) or thoughts interrupting the test also increase anxiety and sometimes cause distraction, therefore, affect the test performance negatively. (Alpert, Haber, 1960 cited in Putwain & Daniels, 2010; Sarason, 1986; Levine, 2002; Driscoll, Holt, Hunter, 2005; Aydın, Yavuz, Yeşilyurt, 2006; Driscoll, 2006; Miller et al. 2006; Güner, 2006). Lack of motivation can also become an important factor undermining the performance, affecting the test attitudes negatively (Smith & Troth, 1975; Kausler & Trap, 1958; Evert, 2000; Sekman, 2002; Yurdakul, 2006). Pessimism that invites depressive thinking and worries can affect the test performance negatively (Seligman 1996, Öner & Albayrak, 1990; Jordan, 1999; Yurdakul, 2006). The students who prepare for the tests under insufficient physical conditions, may also develop a negative attitude towards the tests (Popkin, Lim-Ybanez, 1982; Pungello, Kupersmidt, Burchinal, & Patterson, 1996; Alıcıgüzel, 1998; Miranda, Kim, Reiter, Galeano, & Maxson, 2009). Developing a comprehensive scale that includes all these factors is the main goal of this study.
In the past, regarding attitude scales concerning anxiety, which is a cause of reduced test performance, mostly adaptation studies have been conducted (Öner, Albayrak, 1990; Aydın, Yavuz, Yeşilyurt, 2006; Toktan, Yavuz, 2009). There have almost been no effort to develop the same on a Turkish sample. Another purpose of this study is to develop a scale that conforms to our culture and the Turkish Test System by working with a Turkish sample.
In the present study, the reliability and the validity studies conducted in Turkey for the Scale of Attitudes Negatively Affecting the Performance -I/ Test (POET-I/S) on a student sample between the ages of 12-18 preparing for SBS or ÖSS tests, are provided.
A series of examinations have been performed in relation with POET’s validity. Due to the fact that a semi-structured interview form of 176 items consisting of the students’ own statements is used at the stage of creating the questions to develop the scale, the questions set are very close to the experiences and statements of the students. This further enhances the scope of validity of POET. In addition, another factor that enhances the validity of POET’s scope is the consultation process to a group of experts consisting of 7 judges who are highly competent in their field and with children between the age of 12 and 18. Among these experts, 2 were specialized in research, measurement and evaluation and 2 were specialized in educating the children of the given ages.
The factor structure was examined in order to be set as an indicator of the structural validity of the scale. As a result of the trials undertaken, the application of Varimax rotation with the Principal Components technique and with 6 factor analyses were decided. Accordingly, it is determined that at least 72 items of the scale have a weight on a factor by minimum .30. This value meets the minimum factor weight criterion of .30 required for an item to be included in a measurement tool (Tavşancıl, 2006).
As a necessity of the factor analysis technique, a large first factor that can be named as “Physical Symptoms” and that received weight from 15 items, is generated. Following rotation, this factor explains 9.143 % of the total scale variance and when it is processed like a sub-scale, it displays an internal consistency of .903. The succeeding 5 factors are named respectively= factor 2, “anxiety during test” (item 15, 8.18 %; α=.866); factor 3, “pessimism” (item 13, 7.593 %; α = .886); factor 4, “reluctance/lack of motivation” (item 12, 7.374 %; α =.831); factor 5, “pressure of the immediate social environment” (item 11, 6.724 %; α =.834) and factor 6, “insufficient physical conditions” (item 4, 3.125 %; α =.524). The total variance quantity of the six factors that are revealed as a result of the factor analysis is 42.140%. This result indicates that the total variance rate demonstrated by the scale remains within the acceptable limits (Şencan, 2005).
According to the demonstrated variance rates of the other sub-dimensions, although the variance rate which is demonstrated by the sub-scale of the insufficient physical conditions is low; it is concluded that a dimension contributing to the scope of the scale, the items constituting it has high factor weight and its dimension scores show significant correlations with the scale and other sub-dimensions.
In selection of the items to be included in the final inventory, the factor analysis after the rotation (Varimax), the item test and the corrected item total correlations have been taken as the basis. As a result of the analyses conducted, it is verified that the factor weight of each item before and after the rotation and the item sub test and corrected item total correlations are on a sufficient level.
The reliability coefficients calculated by Cronbach Alpha vary between .831 and .903 for the five sub-scales. It can be suggested that the reliability level is sufficient for all the sub-dimensions of the inventory except for the sub-dimension of Insufficient Physical Conditions (α=.524; p<.70).
The sub-scales of POET correlate with each other between .106 and .667 and with the total scale score between .521 and .845. These results of POET are important findings indicate high structural validity.
During the application of test-retest reliability, performed for POET, the reliability coefficients vary between .798 and .990. Thus, it can be stated that the scale generally measures the dimension in time in a very consistent manner.
Generally, the new tests and scales provided are performed in order to be able to serve as an alternative to some old examples and to eliminate their aspects that seem to be weak. In this case, it should be demonstrated to what extent the new test’s measurement corresponds to the old test. Therefore, when we see criteria or match validity with the Test Anxiety Inventory (Öner and Albayrak, 1990), the correlation between the total scores of the POET Scale and the Test Anxiety Inventory is found to be .816. In tests measuring the same conceptual structure, the correlation coefficients should have strong values such as .70 or .80 (Şencan, 2005). The fact that this result obtained is above the required criterion value is an important finding that shows the high level validity of POET. Moreover, the fact that the correlations between the sub-scales of the POET Scale and the Test Anxiety Inventory (except for the sub-dimension of the pressure of the environment) have reached a significant level is another proof that the scale is valid. Perhaps, due to the fact that in the Test Anxiety Inventory the lack of the items regarding the pressure from the immediate environment, no significant correlation has been determined between the POET’s sub-scale of pressure of environment and the Test Anxiety Inventory.
When it is considered that the internal consistency coefficient of the scale (α =.953) is also an indicator of the structural validity (Anastasi & Urbina, 1997), it is possible to conclude that POET is a valid measurement tool in Turkish and for Turkish culture with both its factor structure and its 67% variance with the Test Anxiety Inventory scores performing measurement in the same realm. When considered in conjunction with high reliability coefficients, it is seen that a tool that can be used safely has been achieved. Thus, it is regarded as the development of POET-I/S scale, which can easily and reliably be used by the researchers of Turkey. Moreover, it comprehensively determines the negative factors other than anxiety, therefore, this study contributes greatly to the field.
In conclusion, the present study has examined the psychometric characteristics of the factors negatively affecting attitudes of students towards important tests, with a focus on a sample from Turkey. The findings demonstrate that the validity and reliability coefficients of the scale are on a satisfactory level. This reveals that the scale is appropriate for use of the students between the ages of 12 and 18. It will be appropriate for POET-I/S to be tested for the adult age group preparing for tests like KPSS and ALES as well as the student groups under 12, who take the tests of the schools that they attend. In the studies related to POET-1/S, the demographic variables should be determined and the factors that cause students to develop a negative attitude towards the test in the fields of implementation should be examined. Depending on their results, efficient therapy plans specific to each factor, each age group and each individual should be developed. As POET-I/S reveals the factors that cause negative attitudes, it also contributes greatly to the development of the therapy plans. The tests are the processes that necessitate performance just like sports competitions and stage shows. It is planned to create similar scales with a controlled sample for performing athletes and stage artists etc.
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