Implementing the idea that more emphasis should be placed on student achievement in the affective domain is contingent upon the concurrent development of suitable instruments for the assessment of prescribed criteria. One such instrument, the Schwirian Science Support Scale (Tri-S scale), was reported in a recent NSTA publication as a promising tool for measuring student science support.
Recent research using the Tri-S scale with high school pupils showed that scores on this instrument did not increase after the students had taken a tenth grade introductory course in biology. Further analysis indicated students of teachers scoring “high” in science support did not produce higher scores on the Tri-S scale than students studying biology from teachers “low” in science support. Reliability estimates using high school student scores were well below previous estimates using scores from college undergraduates. Factor analysis of inter-item correlations indicated that student interpretation of item meaning did not correspond to the five subtest structure of the Tri-S scale.
Findings from this study demonstrate that the Tri-S scale is not an appropriate instrument for measuring attitudinal changes of tenth grade high school students. This study is suggestive of the fact that went and future instruments that purport to measure achievement in noncognitive areas should be carefully analyzed before they are recommended for use with specific populations.