Psychometric re-evaluation of the scientific attitude inventory — Revised (SAI-II)

Published:2008, Journal of Research in Science Teaching
Authors:Lichtenstein MJ, Owen SV, Blalock CL, Liu Y, Ramirez KA, Pruski LA, Marshall CE, Toepperwein MA
Type:Project Generated

general science, attitude, evaluation, theory, statistic, multivariate, survey

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If questionnaires to measure scientific attitude are to have utility in assessing students’ inclinations toward careers in science or mastering science based curricula, it is incumbent that these instruments have the psychometric data to back them up. The central purposes of this paper were to review the development and evolution of the Scientific Attitude Inventory (SAI), to collect new empiric data from a sample of school children, and then re-evaluate the psychometric properties of the revised form of the SAI, the Scientific Attitude Inventory II (SAI-II). The SAI-II was administered to a convenience sample of 543 middle and high school students from 5 teachers in 4 schools in 4 school districts in San Antonio, TX at the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year. Confirmatory factor analysis on the full data set failed to support the existence of a 12-factor structure (as proposed by the scale developers) or a 1-factor structure. The data were then randomly divided into exploratory (EFA) validation and confirmatory (CFA) cross-validation sets. Exploratory and confirmatory models yielded a 3-factor solution that did not fit the data well (?2 (321) = 646, p< .001; RMSEA = .061 [.90 CI = .054 - .068]; and CFI = .81). The three factors were labeled 'Science is About Understanding and Explaining' (13 items), 'Science is Rigid' (6 items), and 'I Want to Be a Scientist' (8 items). The a-coefficients for these three factors ranged from 0.59 to 0.85, but whether these scales are valid will require independent investigation. In our sample, and consistent with prior publications, the SAI-II in its current form does not have satisfactory psychometric properties and cannot be recommended for further use.