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Date of Award

1978

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Hugh McBride

First Committee Member

[?]

Second Committee Member

Suzanne B. Hansen[?]

Third Committee Member

William G. Theimer, Jr.

Fourth Committee Member

R. D. Morran[?]

Abstract

PURPOSE: This study constructed an assessment instrument for the use of teachers and their assistants in preschool education programs. It also established measures of reliability and validity of that instrument.

PROCEDURES: Initially, extant assessment instruments were scrutinized. From ideas generated by the best of these instruments and from lists of competencies necessary for academic success in grade one of public schools, the first draft of the instrument was prepared. Extensive revision to reduce. the length of the assessment and to simplify its administration was then accomplished. The second edition was then field-tested in preschool centers to ascertain whether (a) the instrument was economical in respect to time , (b) whether the language of the items would be comprehensible by the age levels of children examined, and (c) where the interest level of the instrument would hold their attention. Following field-testing minor revisions were made before submitting the assessment to three expert judges for item-by-item scrutiny to establish content validity. Judges considered (a) relevance of item content to curricula stressing language and cognitive skill development, (b) age -level placement of items, and (c) adequacy of item language in eliciting considered responses. From the critiques of ·the judges, revisions to the assessment were made. The test-retest reliability of the instrument was next determined by assessing a group of pupils twice each with a ten day interval separating pairs of assessments and then computing a Pearson product moment correlation for the pairs of scores. Next initerrater reliability was determined using the Kendall coefficient of concordance technique upon scores obtained by each of four raters who assessed each of a group of ten pupils. Criterion validity was then examined by applying the Spcannan rank order positions of pupils according to assessments scores with rank positions assigned by their teachers judgments of their language and cognitive skills proficiencies. Teachers utilized a list of skills representative of assessment items for their guidance.

RESULTS: An assessment instrument was constructed sampling language and cognitive skill behaviors from age two through seven years, establishing a range to detect both slow and rapid development. The instrument was found to be (a) economical in terms of assessment time, (b) interesting to young children so that attention span poses no problem, (c) usable by preschool staff members who possess no psychometric expertise, (d) simple to administer and interpret, (e) possessing content validity, test-retest reliability, and interrater reliability . .

RECOMMENDATIONS: Revisions of this instrument to enable accurate assessment of children whose primary language is other than Standard American English would be a contribution to educational practice in the United States. Here translation, however, is not suggested . Also basic research to determine whether cognition precedes, occurs with, or follows language development would serve , heuristically, the development of preschool curricula. Predictive validity, investigated by a five year study in a community with population stability, would determine whether this instrument has value in preschool pedagogy.

Pages

131

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