Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Lisa Abrams, Ph.D.


This study investigated validity evidence for the Science Literacy Assessment, an instrument designed to assess middle school students’ ability to think scientifically as well as their motivation and beliefs about science (Fives, Huebner, Birnbaum, & Nicolich, 2014). Specifically, three sources of evidence were considered; internal structure, concurrent criterion-related, and predictive criterion-related. Exploratory factor analysis was utilized to examine the underlying factor structure of each of the instrument’s two components, motivation and beliefs related to science and demonstrated scientific literacy. Pearson product-moment correlations were calculated to determine the relationship between scores on the motivation and belief component of the Science Literacy Assessment and two instruments widely used to assess students’ attitudes toward science, the Modified Attitudes Toward Science Inventory (Weinburg & Steele, 2000), and the STEM Career Interest Survey (Kier, Blanchard, Osborne, & Albert, 2014). Finally, the extent to which scores on the Science Literacy Assessment predict scores on a general science knowledge instrument was assessed with the use of bivariate linear regression. Results suggested that, for the middle school student sample, the Science Literacy Assessment has appropriate psychometric properties for use with middle school students. Due to an insufficient high school sample size, validity evidence for this group was inconclusive.


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