Testing an epistemological belief instrument that reflects a multidimensional model
Recently Schommer, Mau, and Brookhart (1999) attempted to assess middle school students' epistemological beliefs using a 30-item epistemological beliefs questionnaire that was designed by Schommer specifically for use with middle school students. A three-factor model of epistemological beliefs was found. In contrast, a four-factor epistemological beliefs model has been found with high school students, college students, and older adults using a 63-item version of the epistemological beliefs questionnaire (Schommer, 1990; 1993b; 1998). The purpose of this research was to determine if the three-factor epistemological beliefs model found in the Schommer et al. (1999) study accurately assessed middle school students' epistemological beliefs or if the ·questionnaire lacks appropriate psychometric properties to detect the fourth factor. Using the 30-item epistemological beliefs questionnaire, a total of 901 students from two Midwestern high schools participated in order to determine whether the 30-item epistemological beliefs questionnaire had similar psychometric qualities compared to the original 63-item epistemological beliefs questionnaire (Schommer, 1990). It was expected that the data from this research would elicit the same four-factor epistemological belief structure found previously among high school students (Schommer, 1993b) and the epistemological belief factors would predict grade point averages (GP A). The data gathered from the high school population using the 30-item Attitudes About Education epistemological beliefs questionnaire elicited a four-factor structure of personal epistemology and three epistemological belief factors_ were found to predict GP A. Results indicate that ~he 30-item questionnaire elicits similar results among high school students as the 63-item questionnaire.
Thesis (M.Ed.)--Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Administration, Counseling, Educational and School Psychology