Student prior attitude scale, development and validation, student evaluation of teachers, students - attitudes


It is not uncommon for students to have preconceptions of a class before it begins. These preconceptions may come from information about a class, often through word of mouth, or knowledge that the class requires skills inconsistent with the student’s skill set. These preconceptions of a class may have a positive or negative effect on how a student initially feels about the class, and may, in fact, have an effect on end-of-term student evaluations. Since student evaluations are often used for personnel decisions, it is vital that these evaluations be reliable and valid. This study reports on the development and validation of a scale, the Student Prior Attitude (SPA) scale, to measure the degree to which students are engaged/disengaged, interested/uninterested, or excited/unexcited to be taking a class before the class even begins. Both an 11-item and a 4-item scale are investigated for reliability and validity. Possible uses of the scales are discussed and descriptive data from the sample are reported for both scales. Implications for future research are discussed.

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