Performance on the Teacher Vineland adaptive scale - The case of Chipata

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Jere, Jacqueline Pauline
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Over the past few centuries, the use of psychological tests has become a widespread activity, not only in the Western world, but in Africa as well. Zambia is no exception to this development. In the past few years, the country has experienced an increase in the use of psychological tests in a wide range of fields including clinical psychology, counseling, industrial and organizational psychology (particularly in human resource departments), to mention but a few. Although this trend indicates a positive development in these various fields, much trepidation exits on how culturally appropriate or inappropriate these tests are. One of the causes for this apprehension is the fact that many of these tests have been designed for use in particular populations thereby bringing into question the ecological validity of the test when it is administered in a dissimilar environment. Although many professionals are aware of this fact, not much has been done to try and rectify this discrepancy. In light of the above, the main objective of this study was to establish the validity and reliability of a psychological instrument used in Zambia to assess adaptive behavior - the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale - teacher version. The study was conducted in the Chipata District in the Eastern part of Zambia. The study population consisted of all teachers and pupils from Chipata district and the study sample was randomly drawn from both rural and urban schools. The class teacher from each class was expected to respond to the questionnaire for each of the students that were sampled from their class. The total sample size consisted of 484 pupils and 68 teachers. Reliability and validity data analyses were conducted using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). Results from the analysis indicate that reliability values for the instrument were low to average. Results for the internal consistency were as follows: split half reliability coefficients for the sub-domains range between 0.16 and 0.88, while alpha cronbach coefficients range between 0.79 and 0.89 respectively. These results, when compared to the American sample of the same age, the American sample performed better. Validity results were as follows: for age ranges 7-13 inter-correlation coefficients ranged between r=0.22 and r = 70 at the 0.01 level (2-tailed) across the sub-domains. For ages 14-18 inter-correlation coefficients range between r=0.43 and r=0.80 at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). These results indicate that the instrument has very low validity, especially in comparison to the American sample. An analysis of the inter-item correlation indicates that each domain contains items with very low inter-item correlation values for some r= <. 015. Items with such low values are an indicator of poor cultural appropriateness and relationship with other items within the sub-domain. The study concluded that although the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale - teacher version has an average reliability, it is not a valid instrument implying that it does not measure the construct it purports to measure - adaptive behaviour in Zambia, Chipata district. This realization is very important as it not only confirms concerns that have been raised about the use of imported psychological instruments but it also provides suggestions and recommendations on how the instrument can be made more relevant to the Zambian population, particularly in Eastern province.
Adaptability (Psychology) -- Testing , Adjustment (Psychology) -- Testing