Ratings of everyday academic and cognitive skills in evaluation of school learning and learning problems: initial scale development and validation
Lamb, Gordon Dale
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Although research supports the use of measures of typical performance for assessing academic and cognitive skills, there are currently few such measures in existence. Other measures have been used for research purposes, but they are not normed on a large, nationally-representative sample. The Ratings of Everyday Academic and Cognitive Skills (REACS) was created to address the need for a measure of typical academic and cognitive skills. The goal of the REACS is to provide a timely, easy to administer, and comprehensive assessment of a child's typical functioning in various academic and cognitive domains. The purpose for this dissertation was to develop the initial scale and conduct analyses to provide evidence of its reliability and validity. In an attempt to provide preliminary evidence of the validity of scores from this measure, Parent (n = 142) and Teacher (n = 109) REACS forms were collected for data analysis. A subsample of parents and teachers completed forms to examine interrater and test-retest reliability. A group of children (n = 32) were assessed with measures of academic achievement, cognitive ability, and memory for comparison to the REACS. Results generally showed high internal consistency, yet less reliable test-retest and interrater reliability. While the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of the parent scale supported a factor structure that approximated the intended structure of the REACS, a better fit was found with a simpler model for the teacher scale. Finally, both the Parent and Teacher REACS forms were found to predict academic achievement better than cognitive ability. The predictive ability of the REACS was enhanced when used in conjunction with a measure of cognitive ability.