Scholarly article on topic 'Psychometric properties and construct validity of a scale measuring self-regulated learning: evidence from the Italian PIRLS data'

Psychometric properties and construct validity of a scale measuring self-regulated learning: evidence from the Italian PIRLS data Academic research paper on "Psychology"

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Abstract of research paper on Psychology, author of scientific article — Fabio Alivernini, Fabio Lucidi, Sara Manganelli

Abstract The main purpose of this study was to examine psychometric properties and construct validity of the Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (ASRQ). Subjects were Italian pupils who took part in PIRLS 2011 Field-Trial. A multi-group confirmatory factor analysis (MCFA) was performed to test the scale theoretical structure and the measurement invariance across gender. Moreover, construct validity was assessed examining the structure of latent correlations among the subscales and by means of structural equation modeling. Results of MCFA were consistent with the hypothesized scale structure and showed measurement invariance across gender, moreover evidence from SEM supported the construct validity of the ASRQ.

Academic research paper on topic "Psychometric properties and construct validity of a scale measuring self-regulated learning: evidence from the Italian PIRLS data"

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Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 15 (2011) 442-446

WCES-2011

Psychometric properties and construct validity of a scale measuring self-regulated learning: evidence from the Italian PIRLS data

Fabio Aliverninia*, Fabio Lucidib, Sara Manganellia

aNational Institute for the Educational Evaluation of Instruction and Training (INVALSI), via Borromini 5 - Villa Falconieri -, 00044 Frascati

(RM), Italy

bDepartment of Social and Developmental Psychology, University of Rome 'La Sapienza', via dei Marsi 78, 000185 Rome, Italy

Abstract

The main purpose of this study was to examine psychometric properties and construct validity of the Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (ASRQ). Subjects were Italian pupils who took part in PIRLS 2011 Field-Trial. A multi-group confirmatory factor analysis (MCFA) was performed to test the scale theoretical structure and the measurement invariance across gender. Moreover, construct validity was assessed examining the structure of latent correlations among the subscales and by means of structural equation modeling. Results of MCFA were consistent with the hypothesized scale structure and showed measurement invariance across gender, moreover evidence from SEM supported the construct validity of the ASRQ. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Keywords: confirmatory factor analysis; Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire; validation ;

1. Introduction

A frequently used scale for the assessment of self-regulated learning is the Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire (ASRQ, Ryan and Connell 1989). The instrument was developed for students from elementary school to middle school age and it is designed to explore the motives why students do a series of school-activities related to school, both at home or in class. The ASRQ is based on Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci and Ryan 2002), according to which there are several different levels regulating the motivation to learn. These types of regulation correspond to different degrees of student autonomy and can be placed along a self-determination continuum (Deci & Ryan, 2000) where it is possible to identify four states which differ from the theoretical, functional, and experiential point of view. The lowest level of regulation is external regulation, in which students study to satisfy an external demand or to obtain an externally imposed reward contingency (Deci & Ryan, 1985). At the next level, introjected regulation, students behaviours are controlled by reward/punishment contingencies, such as ego enhancement, guilt, or anxiety (Deci & Ryan, 2000). In identified regulation there is a higher level of autonomy and the student attributes personal importance to studying. Finally, intrinsic regulation, is characterized by the highest level of autonomy: students study because they like it rather for some instrumental reason.

* Fabio Alivernini

E-mail address: fabio.alivernini@invalsi.it.

1877-0428 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.03.118

1.1. Self-regulated motivation to study and the intention to persist in school activities

Various studies have found a correlation between the frequency of and the persistence in typical school activities (e.g. performing tasks at home) and more autonomous forms of motivation in students (Miserandino, 1996; Otis, Grouzet, & Pelletier, 2005). Some studies have also shown the relationship of the indicators of good adaptation to school with self-regulated motivation to study. For example Vallerand and collaborators (1989) found that students with more intrinsic and identified motivation tend to report more positive emotions in the classroom and more satisfaction with school than students with less autonomous profiles.

1.2. Studies on the reliability and validity of the Academic Self-Regulation questionnaire

According to its theoretical structure the ASRQ involves four subscales: external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation and intrinsic regulation. An exploratory factorial analysis of the items of the ASRQ was carried out by Ryan and Connell (1989) on a sample of about 700 elementary school students. The analysis revealed a two-dimensional solution in which respectively the items related to more internal reasons and those linked to the external reasons loaded. Instead the items related to introjected and identified motivation loaded in both factors. The structure of the correlations found between the scales generally confirms the so-called quasi-simplex pattern (Guttmam, 1954) in which the correlations between categories of items show a pattern in which classes that lie adjacent along the theoretical continuum correlate more than those that are more distant. As regards concurrent validity, the scales of the ASRQ reveal a graduated series of correlations with Harter's assessment scale of intrinsic motivation (1980), as one would expect on the basis of the theory. As regards the criterion of validity, the two internal dimensions (intrinsic and identified) correlate more closely with more adaptive strategies for coping with school and with perseverance in study, while the two external dimensions (external and introjected) are more closely correlated to anxiety (Ryan and Connell, 1989). Although many studies are based on the ASRQ (e.g.; Grolnick, & Ryan, 1989; Grolnick, Ryan, & Deci, 1991; Miserandino, 1996; Patrick, Skinner, & Connell, 1993) there is a lack of research to examine its psychometric properties and factorial validity.

1.3. Purpose of the study

The main purpose of this study was to examine factor structure, measurement invariance across gender and construct validity of the ASRQ in the Italian Context.

2. Methods

2.1. Participants and procedures

The Subjects were 1390 Italian pupils who took part in PIRLS 2011 Field Trial. These students attended 38 primary schools randomly selected from the population of Italian schools. The instruments were administered collectively in the classroom.

2.2. Instrumentation

2.2.1. ASRQ

We used the Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire with the original 15 different items answered on a 4 point response scale (very true, partly true, not very true, not true at all). The items represent different reasons for doing school activities. The A-SRQ was translated from English into Italian by the authors and then back-translated by a graduate student fluent in both English and Italian. Independent judges then considered the equivalence of the

original and the back-translated versions of the scales and measures. After discussing instances of nonequivalence, the final editing was completed.

2.2.2. Intention to persist in school activities

The intention to persist in school activities was assessed by means of three items based on those used by Hardre and Reeve (2003). The items were negatively worded, according to the literature (e.g. Vallerand, Fortier, & Guay, 1997) and were: "I sometimes consider dropping out of school" "I intend to drop out of school activities," and "I sometimes feel unsure about continuing my school activities." We asked these items using a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 7 (very much so). The internal consistency of the three-item measure was .80 (Cronbach's alpha).

2.3. Data analysis

A multi-group confirmatory factor analysis (MCFA) was performed using AMOS 18. In accordance with the theoretical structure of the scale, the tested model consisted of four correlated factors. Measurement invariance was tested across gender in terms of scalar invariance, constraining factor loadings and intercepts to be equal across gender. Construct validity was assessed by examining the structure of latent correlations among the subscales and by means of structural equation modeling. As regards the first point, according to SDT predictions, the correlations among the ASRQ subscales should match a simplex pattern (Vallerand et al., 1993) where adjacent subscales should have stronger positive correlations than subscales that are further apart, and the scales that are the furthest apart should have the strongest negative relationships. In the structural model the four factors are considered predictors of the intention to persist in school activities (a latent variable measured by three indicators). According to SDT, the ASRQ subscales, which measure self-regulated motivation to study (identified and intrinsic regulation), should show a more positive impact on intention to persist in school activities as compared to subscales measuring external-regulated motivation to study (external and introjected regulation).

3. Results

The tested measurement model had the goodness-of-fit indexes as follows: tf = 791.97 (df=97), p < .01, tf/df = 8.1, TLI = .89, IFI = .91, CFI = .91, RMSEA = .07. The reliability of the scales in terms of internal consistency ranged from .60 (Introjected regulation) to .88 (Intrinsic regulation). As regards the equivalence of factor structure across gender, table 1 presents the results. The chi-square difference between the baseline model and the scalar invariance model was statistically significant (A tf = 86.6; df =32, p < .01), but the difference in CFI was smaller (from .006) than the cutoff criterion of .01 suggested by Cheung and Rensvold (2002). According to this last criterion, the ASRQ sub-scales can be considered as substantially invariant across gender. Table 1 shows the results of these analyses.

Table 1. Equivalence of the factor structure of the ASRQ scales across gender

Configurai invariance models Scalar invariance

Subgroup Comparison

(Baseline models) models

Males vs. Females

/(df) 853.159 (194) 939.75 (226)

CFI .906 .90

RMSEA .05 .05

The tested structural model had goodness-of-fit indexes as follows: tf = 827.74 (df=141), p < .01, tfldf = 5.8, TLI = .90, IFI = .92, CFI = .92, RMSEA = .06. Structural coefficients from the completely standardized solution under maximum likelihood are displayed in figure 1. As can be seen, intrinsic regulation and identified regulation

have a positive impact on the intention to persist in school activities, while external-regulation has a negative impact. The pattern of latent correlations between the factors is substantially consistent with the hypothesized simplex pattern.

The main goals for this study were to examine the factorial structure of the ASRQ, test the factorial invariance for gender and to assess the construct validity of the questionnaire.

Firstly, the results of this study show that the four-factor structure that underlies the ASRQ was replicated in a Italian student sample. The fit indices show that the four-factor model is appropriate to explain Italian data. Additionally, in agreement with the previous studies (Dazzi & Petrabissi, 2006) the ASRQ subscales show a certain degree of internal consistency with the Introjected Regulation subscale as the least reliable of the subscales (alpha=. 60). Secondly, the test for factorial invariance reveals the presence of substantial scalar invariance across gender. This result provides some evidence for the applicability of the scale in studies where differences in self-regulated learning between males and females are taken into consideration.

Thirdly, as regards construct validity, latent correlations between the four ASRQ subscales reveal a pattern consistent with the self-determination continuum where adjacent subscales have stronger positive correlations than subscales further apart, and scales furthest apart have the strongest negative relationships. Additionally, in line with what the SDT predicts, ASRQ subscales measuring self-regulated motivation to study showed a more positive impact on intention to persist in school activities compared to subscales measuring external-regulated motivation to study.

The ASRQ provides a means by which researchers can investigate students' regulation toward learning, and it has proved its usefulness in predicting a wide ranging series of indicators of success at school. In fact students' regulation toward learning, apart from persistence in school activities, has been shown to be a good predictor of good adaptation to school and of psychological well-being (Ryan & Connell, 1989; Vallerand, Blais, Briere, & Pelletier, 1989; Walls and Little, 2005) and of school performance both in terms of grades (e.g. Miserandino, 1996; Soenens & Vansteenkiste, 2005), and in terms of performance in standardized tests (e.g. Grolnick, Ryan, & Deci, 1991).

The results of the present study provided support for the factor structure, the factor invariance, the reliability, and the predictive validity of the Italian version of the ASRQ.

In conclusion however, some limitations in the present study should be pointed out. First of all the particular composition of the participating sample might limit the generalizability of the results. Secondly, for the purpose of this study, only motivational consequences were included. Future research in the Italian context may well benefit

Figure 1. Tested Model

4. Discussion

from using the ASRQ in empirical models, integrating the determinants of self-regulated learning into a more complete model.

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