ERIC Number: ED443833
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Using Qualitative Techniques To Assess the Validity of Teachers' Responses to Survey Items.
Camburn, Eric; Correnti, Richard; Taylor, James
This paper presents the results of qualitative analyses that were designed to assess the validity of teachers' responses to items that measure topic coverage in mathematics and language arts. Using data from 12 "think-aloud" interviews and drawing on psychological theory about how respondents answer survey items, this research explored a number of ways that qualitative techniques can be used to diagnose and improve survey instruments in educational research. Twelve elementary school teachers in a midwestern U.S. city participated. Teachers were asked to report the mathematics and language topics they taught in a single day (unprompted report) and to chose the topics they had taught from a topic list. The contextual information teachers used in reporting topic coverage and teachers' understanding of reading topics were studied through the think-aloud interviews. Results suggest that teachers rely on a rich set of contextual information when recalling what they covered. Presenting teachers with the stimulus of a topic list triggered thoughts of content, whereas the open-ended nature of the unprompted report triggered the recall of other types of information. Results also show that teachers' understanding of the topics in topic lists cannot be taken for granted. Appendixes contain the reading and mathematics topic lists and an analysis of each teacher's understanding of two reading topics. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Education, Washington, DC.; National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000).