Beginner Pre-Service Special Education Teachers’ Learning Experience During Practicum

Table 1: Summary of Internal Consistency Indices for the Ten Factors of the Analytical Abilities

N

Factor

Valid Items

Spearman-Brown

1

Problem Solving

7

0.74

2

Pattern Recognition

7

0.72

3

Artificial Language

4

0.79

4

Audio-Logic

5

0.70

5

Audio-Matrix

4

0.77

Total

27

0.72

Pattern Recognition

This section contained two parts. The first part is composed of two items require from the respondents to recognise a shape given on the top of the questions within a list of choices attached to the questions. The shapes are similar to the required shape but only one accurate shape matches the given shape that is needed to be identified out of the given choices. Item number three of the test was conducted through computer flash application. A shape was given to be identified out of a number of shapes. When identifying the correct choice of the shape, it will be removed from the arranged given shapes. Then another shape was given and so on. All the given shapes were constituted of geometrical figures ordered from easy to difficult. The second part of this test consisted of four items with auditory contents. Respondents were asked to hear a musical sound then to match it to the similar sound form the given options. All sounds have the same rhythm but differed in their pitch.

Problem Solving

This section is composed of seven items. Items number one, two, three, and four have primitive indices followed by dilemmas, however, the solutions for the proposed problems was covered by irrelevant remarks. Respondents have to go backward and forward through the primitive indices for the situations connecting the relative indices and eliminating the irrelevant ones seeking for the correct solutions. The correct answers or choices were attached to each item. Items number five and six have weight measurement contained grading system on each side of the scale. The weight was known but the concentration or scaling point to figure out the needed weight on the other side of the scale to achieve balance. Items number seven and eight include two maps, on the right side; they contain an indicator for the direction along with four symbols. The directions and symbols are [a star; indicates the east, triangle; indicates the north, square; indicates the south, and a circle and triangle indicate to the north-west direction]. Respondents were given instructions in each question to move according to the provided symbols. Each move was designed for one intersection included in the map. Respondents were required to identify the place that the symbol indicates on the map. The symbol indicated the correct given place in the choices attached to the items within a number of other places symbolised on the map.

Audio Matrices

This section consisted of four items; each item has a series of sounds presented in a progressive form. Sounds were manipulated professionally using computer sounds application (Sound Forge V.8) to be varied in their pitch. Respondents were asked to choose from the given options the correct sound that should be added to complete the matrix.

Audio-Logic

The audio-logic items require the use of the deductive logic which involves drawing conclusions based on sets of premises that are assumed to be true. Deductive reasoning involves the use of two or more premises, which may be rules, laws, principles, or generalizations, and forms a conclusion based upon them. In order to be valid, a deductive argument must have premises that are true and a conclusion that logically follows from those premises, without trying to go beyond them. When individuals understand how these arguments work, they will know how to construct their own strong arguments. This section consisted of five items, each item introduced premises represented by sounds, respondents are asked to draw a correct conclusion by getting use of the provided premises from the sounds, and the correct conclusion (answer) was given in item answer options. The following is an example of audio-logic items:

Premise (1): If North-East is represented by the sound (A)

Premise (2): North-West is represented by the sound (B)

Premise (3): South-East is represented by the sound (C)

What sound could indicate to South-West?

Sound A in the first premise consisted of two distinct musical notes (X: indicates North, Y: indicates East). In the second premise, sound B also is composed of two distinct musical notes, namely, X that indicates North, and a new note Z that indicates West. In the third premise, sound C is composed of another pair of notes, i.e., W that indicates to South and Y thatindicates East). Thus the sound which indicates South-West must be W & Z the pair of notes. In order to solve such a problem, a high level of sound recognition, an ability to keep holding the various notes for a long time in the working memory, and the abilities to build logical linkages and connections among the premises to draw the conclusion are required.

Artificial Language

This section consisted of six items. It was developed to measure the qualitative reasoning into two different levels (average and advanced). The average level includes two logical introductions (premises) require from respondents to find out the result (conclusion) following the logical indicators of the premises. The advanced level involves three logical premises require from the respondent to find out the possible conclusion from the given six multiple choices attached to each item.

Environment questionnaire

A number of 36 items were developed and validated in form of self rating scale to identify students’ environment status using Likert scale (1-5) ranging from very frequent to never. The items were distributed on eight factors encompass the environmental status perceived by the gifted students. All the items were structured of informative sentences aim at measuring the amount or strength of value that the respondents have regarding their environment elements (family, peers, teachers, school, society, and resources). Items were built through exhibiting the conduct related to the findings of the gifted and talented as in several studies (e.g. Bloom, 1985; Csikzentmihalyi et al., 1993; Winner, 1996; Feldman, 1986). The internal consistency measuring the reliability of the environment factors using Cronbach’s Alpha was ranging from 0.71 to 0.83 and the overall coefficient for the questionnaire was 0.89. These values had shown high reliability indices which support the appropriateness of the instrument as shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Summary of Internal Consistency Indices for the Six Factors of the Environment Questionnaire

Factor

Valid Items

Chronbach’s Alpha

Resources

6

0.71

Family

6

0.83

Peers

6

0.74

School

6

0.75

Society

6

0.75

Teachers

6

0.79

Total

36

0.89

Results

Evaluation of SEM Assumptions

Multicollinearity refers to a high correlation among a set of variables within a specific construct. Hair et al. (2006) suggest that the value greater than 0.9 of correlation coefficient creates multicollinearity problem. Although some of the variables for this research are highly correlated, they fell within the acceptable range (< 0.9) suggested by Hair et al. (2006) as shown in Table 3. There was no evidence of multicollinearity of the variables so all these variables were used for further analysis. Prior to the SEM analysis, the assumptions for SEM were evaluated. Reliability coefficients (Cronbach’s alpha) were computed to access the reliability of the indicators for all observed variables. The results showed that the measures used for the current study had adequate to excellent internal reliability. The sample covariance matrix value was evaluated to confirm multicollinearity and to determine if singularity problems existed. A high value of determinant on the sample covariance matrix (1.567) was found in the Sample Moments section and it was larger than zero. Therefore, there was no singularity problem among the tested variables. No further rescaling was required for the current data. A skewness range from -0.268 to 0.467 was well below the suggested level of the absolute value of 3.0. In addition, a kurtosis range from -0.322 to.945 revealed that the variables are not overly peaked and well below the absolute value of 10.0 as suggested by Chan (2003). Thus the presented values reveal that the variables are normally distributed and have met the criteria for the SEM analysis.

Evaluation of the Measurement Model: Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA)

Confirmatory Factor AnalysisCFA was carried out to determine the adequacy of the factor loadings and the standardized residuals and explained variances for the measurement variables. Figure 1 presents the measurement model for the variables. For this constructed measurement model, all factor loadings are freed (i.e., estimated); items are allowed to load on only one construct (i.e., no cross loading); and latent constructs are allowed to correlate (equivalent to oblique rotation in exploratory factor analysis EFA).

Table 3 shows the elaborated evaluation of the measurement model parameters. All standardized regression weights were significant with CR > ± 1.96, p < 0.05 and all the error variance were < 1.0 indicating that there was no violation of estimates revealed. The standardized regression weights range from 0.278 to 0.770. These values indicate that the 15 measurement variables are significantly represented by their respective latent constructs. The explained variances for the 15 measurement variables are represented by their squared multiple correlations (SMC), the higher the value of the squared multiple correlation, the greater the explanatory power of the regression model. The percentage of variance explained range from 0.129 or 12.9 % (Artificial language) to 0.593 or 59.3 % (Pattern Recognition) as shown in Table 3. SMC results indicate a strong relationship between the constructs and their factors and demonstrate the greater explanatory power of these factors in predicting these compounds.


Figure 1: The Measurement Model with the Factor Loadings

Table 3: Maximum Likelihood Parameter Estimates of the Standardized Factor Loadings, Standard Error, Critical Ratio, and Squared Multiple Correlation for Measurement Model

Parameters

Estimate

S.E.

C.R.

SMC

Teachers

0.657

-

-

0.432

Society

0.743

0.130

7.292

0.552

School

0.665

0.154

6.325

0.442

Peers

0.664

0.138

6.619

0.441

Family

0.533

0.146

5.548

0.284

Resources

0.475

0.178

4.746

0.226

CCFT Series

0.452

-

-

0.205

CCFT Classification

0.535

0.326

3.784

0.287

CCFT Matrices

0.278

0.298

2.323

0.177

CCFT Topology

0.657

0.401

3.681

0.431

Problem Solving

0.547

-

-

0.299

Pattern Recognition

0.770

0.216

5.906

0.593

Audio logic

0.489

0.130

4.668

0.239

Audio matrix

0.763

0.206

5.968

0.582

Artificial language

0.359

0.115

3.602

0.129

Covariances

Environment

<-->

g

0.754

0.243

3.107

g

<-->

Analytical

0.308

0.102

3.010

Environment

<-->

Analytical

1.135

0.285

3.990

Correlations

Environment

<-->

g

0.530

g

<-->

Analytical

0.544

Environment

<-->

Analytical

0.639

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