Measuring student teachers' beliefs about teaching practices: Rash or Rasch?

Year: 1994

Author: Nettle, Ted

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Studies of the attitudes and beliefs of teachers using attitude scales were more common in the 1960's and 1970's than they are now. Over the last few decades, the preferred methodology for studying such aspects of teachers' thinking has been the individual interview. The challenge taken up in this study is the replication, using a questionnaire approach, of an interview study of student teachers' beliefs about teaching practices (Dunkin, Precians & Nettle, 1994). In the initial study, student teachers' beliefs were characterised in terms of four pedagogical dimensions relating to teaching as activity and independence, motivation, interpersonal relations, and structuring.

The study examines earlier attitude and belief scales and outlines the measures used to develop an instrument based on the four pedagogical dimensions. The Rasch model was used in the development of the final instrument used.

In a field of study where the dominant research paradigm is qualitative rather than quantitative, the aim of this study is not to fuel the fires of the "paradigm wars" but to develop complementary measures of an educational phenomenon which has important implications for planning and teaching in teacher education.