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Examining the validity of self-reports on scales measuring students' strategic processing


Correspondence should be addressed to Ivar Bråten, Institute for Educational Research, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1092 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway (e-mail:


Background. Self-report inventories trying to measure strategic processing at a global level have been much used in both basic and applied research. However, the validity of global strategy scores is open to question because such inventories assess strategy perceptions outside the context of specific task performance.

Aims. The primary aim was to examine the criterion-related and construct validity of the global strategy data obtained with the Cross-Curricular Competencies (CCC) scale. Additionally, we wanted to compare the validity of these data with the validity of data obtained with a task-specific self-report inventory focusing on the same types of strategies.

Sample. The sample included 269 10th-grade students from 12 different junior high schools.

Methods. Global strategy use as assessed with the CCC was compared with task-specific strategy use reported in three different reading situations. Moreover, relationships between scores on the CCC and scores on measures of text comprehension were examined and compared with relationships between scores on the task-specific strategy measure and the same comprehension measures.

Results. The comparison between the CCC strategy scores and the task-specific strategy scores suggested only modest criterion-related validity for the data obtained with the global strategy inventory. The CCC strategy scores were also not related to the text comprehension measures, indicating poor construct validity. In contrast, the task-specific strategy scores were positively related to the comprehension measures, indicating good construct validity.

Conclusion. Attempts to measure strategic processing at a global level seem to have limited validity and utility.