Document ED 237 523, ERIC Clearinghouse on tests. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 1984.
SELF-REPORT MEASURES OF ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION: A CATALOG
University of New South Wales
As the projective measurement of achievement motivation has fallen into disrepute, more and more self-report measures have been produced. Most such instruments appear to have been devised without any awareness that other similar instruments already existed. Over 70 such are listed which are shown to have highly variable reliability and validity. There are however several instruments which appear highly suitable for measuring different variants of the achievement motivation concept.
Achievement motivation has been a very popular concept in psychology for more than 30 years and it has usually been measured by some sort of projective test (such as Murray's (1938) TAT), Its use in applied psychology has been vigorously advocated by McClelland in a great range of publications (e.g. McClelland, 1955).
One of the problems in using the concept at the present time, however, is that the projective tests now seem to have fallen into considerable disrepute because of their unreliability (Entwisle, 1972). The alternative, of course, is to use self-report tests (such as a Likert scale). One of the striking features of the literature on the non-projective measurement of achievement motivation, however, is both its extensity and its non-cumulative nature, Any literature search will reveal dozens of competing instruments and the authors of most of them seem never to have heard of one-another. Each test seems to be built up from scratch with little if any reference to work in the field by others, This makes it very difficult for the professional psychologist to judge which test he should choose. The difficulty is amplified by the fact that elementary reliability and validity data are also often not provided for any given test. To the time-constrained professional psychologist, the task of doing adequate bibliographical research for the purpose of finding the best instrument for his purposes would be an almost impossible task. It is the aim of the present paper to make the task a more feasible one. An attempt is made to
present a full list of the over 70 scales available together with basic details of each that should enable a choice to be made of at least where further to read. The aim is rather to narrow down the reading required to just a few papers (according to the interests and requirements of the psychologist concerned) rather than to present
a wholly evaluative summary that can be used in place of any further reading. In short, what is attempted is an annotated "Catalogue" rather than a "Review". There are, of course, some other surveys and collections in the literature similar to the present one but the most comprehensive of them (Fineman, 1977) lists only sixteen of the more than seventy tests of achievement-motivation (or some closely related concept) that have been published.
FORCED CHOICE SCALES
The Edwards (1959) Personal Preference Schedule, the Ghiselli (1971) "SDI" and the Bass (1 957) "Ori" are all multi-trait inventories that include a forced-choice scale to measure achievement motivation or some closely related construct. Single scales in this format to measure achievement motivation have been described by Mukherjee (1965), Weiner & Kukla (1970), Lindgren. (1976), Atkinson & 0'Connor (1956), Hermans (1970) and Johnston (1957). The latter is also partly projective.
Although initially attractive for many purposes, forced-choice format has a number of serious pitfalls. In particular, any scale in this can degenerate into nothing more than a social desirability scale unless it is virtually reconstructed on each occasion of its use (Orvik, 1972). To test how serious this limitation is in practice, Ray (1973) took one of the above inventories (the Bass "Ori") and reconstructed it in Likert format. It was found that in many respects the Likert and forced-choice forms of the scales had opposite validity characteristics -- with the validity characteristics of the Likert forms being much more line with theoretical expectations. Further use of any of the above forced-choice inventories would then appear very imprudent. A fuller account of the issues involved can be found elsewhere (Ray, 1982 & 1983).
Likert (or summated rating) scales have been by far the most common type of self-report scale. Several appear to be good examples of their genre and should, as such, be quite suitable for use in future research, The Likert scales are therefore described in a little more detail below than were the forced choice scales.
Murray's original 10-item scale in this format was given in full in his 1938 book. He also provided a list of 15 "Sentiments of achievement" which could presumably be used as scale items. All items are, however, worded pro-achievement and reliability and validity data are not provided, The one-way wording could lead to problems with acquiescent response bias (Ray, 1983a & 1983b) and very few other authors seem ever to have used this scale (but see DeCharms, Morrison, Reitman & McClelland, 1955).
The next scales to appear after Murray's work seem generally to have formed part of multi-scale inventories, such as the CPI (Gough, 1964), the Heilbrun (1958) Adjective Check list and the Jackson (1967) PRF, The CPI has the interesting feature of dividing motivation up into achievement via conformance and achievement via independence. All three inventories appear to provide scales with good reliability and validity but are limited in that they appear to have been developed for use with student or clinical groups only. There may also be some doubt about whether a single scale from such an inventory should be used in isolation. A test of this was carried out by Ray & Bozek (1980) by including the n-Ach scale of the PRF in a questionnaire together with several other non-PRF scales and administering it to a random mail-out sample of Australians. The reliability (alpha) was only .79 -- a considerable drop from the more usually reported figure of around .90. Even so, however, the reliability is reasonable for a 20-item balanced research instrument.
Another early scale was by Strodtbeck (1958). This was an 8-item scale which was used to generate a single n-Ach score even though it was shown to consist of two independent factors. Some validation evidence was offered but the scale had the odd feature of containing only one item worded pro-achievement.
In 1960, Brengelmann published a "Drive" scale of 14 items which reads very similarly to an achievement motivation scale. Only one item is worded anti-achievement (no. 11) although it is not shown as such in the scoring key. The scale appears to be a translation of a German original but reliability and validity data, at least for the English version, are not given.
In 1961 Mitchell presented no less than three new scales: an adjective checklist, an ordinary Likert scale with True/False answers and a Likert scale with multiple answers. All 6 of the adjectives were pro-achievement, 8 out of 9 of the True/False items were pro-achievement and, as far as one can judge, all the 8 multiple answer items were pro-achievement. Split-half reliabilities of .84, .75 and .83 for each of the three scales respectively were reported. GPA corrected for aptitude was the validity criterion but only the adjective checklist showed a worthwhile prediction (r = .40) of it.
Argyle & Robinson (1962) presented two scales -- of success-seeking and fear of failure. The latter attribute does of course have an important place in the achievement motivation literature. It is in fact normally measured by self-report tests, usually the Mandler & Sarason (1952) Test Anxiety questionnaire or the Alpert & Haber (1960) Debilitating Anxiety Questionnaire. Both of these would appear to be rather heavily laden with general anxiety so the initiative by Argyle & Robinson of providing a new "purpose built" measure of fear of failure might reasonably have been widely welcomed and explored. It appears, however, to have passed virtually unnoticed. Neither of the Argyle & Robinson scales appear to have any published reliability or validity data.
Kahl (1965) presented a new "Occupational Primacy" scale with five pro-achievement items and one anti-achievement item. He also lists a five-item achievement values scale attributed to Rosen but not referenced. There appears to be no reliability or validity data for either scale.
Myers (1965) presented a scale of motivation to educational achievement, with only two out of twelve items worded anti-achievement. Strong predictive validity was demonstrated but reliability was not given. The scale was later modified by Furst (1966), on which occasion a reliability of .77 was found.
Sherwood (1966) presented a three-item scale chiefly notable for its positive correlation with TAT scores.
Carney, Mann & McCormick (1966) constructed a new achievement motivation measure from the CPI by averaging scores on five other scales normally scored from that inventory.
McReynolds & Guevara (1967) present two scales to measure hope of success and fear of failure. There were 22 items making up two 11-item scales, Both had roughly equal proportions of positively and negatively scored items. The two scales correlated highly -- belying the conventional notion that the two attributes are orthogonal or at least factorially separable. Reliabilities of .53 and .72 respectively were reported and various validity indications were presented.
Costello (1967) produced from a factor analysis two scales which seem to measure respectively task orientation (intrinsic motivation) and success-orientation (extrinsic motivation). Both were short and balanced and the Task Orientation scale in particular has been shown elsewhere to have good reliability and validity (Ray, 1980).
Entwistle (1968) presents a 24 item measure of academic motivation including 13 anti-achievement items. Reliability and validity appear to be satisfactory.
Mehrabian (1968) presented separate scales of the tendency to achieve for males and females. Each had 26 items with equal proportions of pro- and anti-achievement items. Reliabilities of .78 and .72 were reported and validity evidence was given. A later and more reliable version of the scale abandoned separate items for males and females (Mehrabian & Bank, 1978).
Lynn (1969) presented an 8 item balanced scale with good evidence of validity but no reliability data. When checked (Ray, 1971) the reliability was found to be negligible.
Ray (1970 & 1975) presented a scale which resulted from work done to test the Lynn scale. It was found that although the factor-analytically derived Lynn scale had little reliability, a scale could nonetheless be produced from Lynn's original item-pool by ordinary item-analysis techniques (item-total correlations) which did have satisfactory reliability and validity. Although not initially completely balanced against acquiescence, a later version (Ray, 1980) of the scale was balanced and was also shown to have unusually high validity in its revised form.
Featherman (1971) presented two scales of Work Orientation and Materialistic Orientation which appear to correspond fairly well to the common distinction in the achievement motivation literature between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The first had 6 items with two reverse-scored and a reliability of .84 while the second had 6 all-positive items with a reliability of .72. The work motivation scale provided the best prediction of actual achievement.
Raven, Molloy & Corcoran (1972) present the results of a factor analysis in which an achievement motivation factor was found. They do not however give any reliability or validity data for it.
Friis & Knox (1972) present a 7 item need for achievement scale with a reliability of .53 and two items reverse-scored. There was no evidence of predictive validity for the scale.
Honor & Vane (1972) report the use of an Attitudes Towards School scale from the California Study Methods Survey. The original publication, however, is given undated and seems obscure. The scale was shown to have a high correlation with GPA and other validity criteria.
Herrenkohl (1972) presented ten scales to measure different factors of achievement motivation. Reliabilities were generally adequate and validity was examined. Balance against acquiescence effects was apparently attempted, at least in part.
Thames, Zimmerman & Michael (1973) present six scales of a "Study Attitudes and Methods Survey". High correlations with GPA were demonstrated for several of the scales.
Smith (1973) has presented a 17 item "Quick" measure of achievement motivation. Its reliability, however, was only .56.
As part of work designed to evaluate the Task-Orientation scale of the Bass "Ori" inventory, Ray (1973) produced two task-orientation scales in Likert format -- one balanced against acquiescence and one not. Reliabilities of .84 and .85 were demonstrated and a variety of validity evidence was given.
Good & Good (1975) present what is probably the best available measure of Fear of Failure. It has 28 items, a reliability of .86 and validity evidence. It makes a distinction between worry and emotionality. Twelve items are keyed "False".
Kreitler & Kreitler (1976) present a questionnaire to measure "Cognitive Orientation of Achievement". They also present an inventory of "General Beliefs" which are achievement-relevant. Both scales are balanced. Reliabilities range between .82 and .71. Predictive validity was reported, They also have a children's version of the scale. The conceptual system to which the scales are relevant is however rather idiosyncratic and hard to follow -- perhaps because it was originally developed in Hebrew.
Struempfer (1975) presents two scales to measure autonomous and social achievement values. Reliabilities of .88 and .81 were reported for scales of 24 and 16 items which had some balancing against acquiescence. Validity evidence was given.
Wherry & South (1977) produced a 70 item worker motivation scale with a number of reasonably reliable sub-scales. Validity evidence was given but balancing appears not to have been attempted,
Lefcourt, Von Bayer, Ware and Cox (1979) produced an achievement locus of control scale with reasonable reliability and demonstrations of validity. Although not an achievement motivation scale in the usual sense, it did correlate with achievement items.
Ray (1980) produced two scales of Task and Success Orientation with respectively 16 and 10 items, Both were close to being completely balanced and had reliabilities of .80 and .78. Extensive predictive validity evidence was given.
Wade (1981) describes a scale of achievement motivation devised for use with 4th grade schoolchildren. It had an alpha of .78 and significantly predicted school attainment but no items were listed nor are we told how long it is or whether it is balanced.
Ray (1982a) produced a 30 item scale in a quest for a high reliability achievement motivation scale usable with general population samples. It was balanced and had a reliability of .85. As it consisted of all the items from three previously well-validated scales, validity should be assured.
Finally, a scale in a very short "Catchphrase" format was devised by Ray (1981) for use in situations where very little testing time per subject is available, It had 20 items, was balanced, had some validity indications and showed a reliability of .87.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE SCALES
There are German-language scales by Ehlers (1965) and Tent (1963) and a Japanese scale by Shimoyama (1974). The Hermans, Mukherjee and Kreitler scales were originally developed in Holland, India and Israel so are presumably available in Dutch, Bengali and Hebrew. The 14-item Ray-Lynn "AO" scale (Ray, 1979) is available in German, Chinese, Hindi, Afrikaans, Marathi, Gujurati, Tagalog and Spanish as well as in its original English.
It should now be evident that there are a large number of scales available which should be quite suitable for measuring achievement motivation and related constructs. Only the scales devised by the present author, however, appear to come complete with general population norms. It must be repeated however, that the present paper is intended as a guide to further reading rather than being a complete substitute for further reading.
Finally, as school counsellors might reasonably be expected to be particularly interested in the measurement of achievement motivation, it may be useful to list together those tests described above which were designed for use with schoolchildren. They are the tests by Myers (1965), Kreitler & Kreitler (1976), Entwistle (1968), Thames, Zimmerman & Michael (1973) and Wade (1981). The Ray (1979) scale has also been used with Australian schoolchildren (Ray & Jones, 1983), though not specifically designed for them.
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