A Rasch model analysis of responses of isiZulu-speaking grade one learners to items on the Verbal Intelligence Quotient eight (VIQ 8) scale of an isiZulu translation of the Junior South African Individual Scales (JSAIS)
Author(s)Teixeira, Lyn Christine
Educational tests and measurements
Verbal ability in children
Cognition in children
School children - Testing
Full recordShow full item record
The aim of this study was to apply a Rasch Analysis to the Verbal Intelligence Quotient Eight (VIQ 8) scale of an isiZulu translation of the Junior South African Individual Scales (JSAIS) to determine whether it would be a reliable and valid means of assessing the verbal cognitive functioning and development of learners at a school in the South African context. The study formed part of the cognitive assessment leg of a wider research project being undertaken by the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for Childhood Education (UJICE). The JSAIS is still a widely used instrument by Psychologists in the South African context despite the last norming having taken place in 1984 and the norms not being representative of the South African population. To establish reliability and validity of formal assessment tools in a multi-cultural and multilingual society such as that of South Africa, context needs to be taken into account and existing tests need to be scrutinized carefully for cultural bias. The Rasch analysis undertaken in this study provides an analysis of item difficulty in relation to ability of the testees in the sample group, which consisted of 26 learners in the isiZulu class at a laboratory school in Soweto where research is being conducted under the auspices of the Soweto Panel Research Programme (SPRP). This study formed part of the pilot phase of the Programme. The analysis of the results suggested that on the whole the three sub-tests fitted the Rasch Model well. The Vocabulary sub-test could be utilized effectively with no further adaptation, whereas the Picture Riddles sub-test could be adapted by adjusting the spread of the items. The Word Association sub-test could possibly be adapted by including a picture stimulus. Apart from these possible adaptations to the sub-tests as well as omission of items and persons that did not fit the model, it is recommended that: standardized testing procedures be adhered to, increased sample sizes be used, testing of the learners take place in the same month and the age of testees be taken into account in further studies. Other studies into the development of the traits that the test taps into of learners in this age group, the equivalence of the isiZulu translation and assumptions regarding “mother-tongue” are also vi recommended. Finally it is recommended that testees who performed strongly or weakly and who did not fit the model due to unwanted sources of variance be observed further. The Rasch analysis findings suggest that the JSAIS has some strong psychometric properties and that adaptation, translation and renorming of the test would be a worthwhile project to consider in the near future. Further to this, concerning the use of the test in the longitudinal panel research project, findings suggest that the VIQ 8 scale of the test is likely to be a fairly reliable and valid means of assessing the cognitive verbal functioning and development of the learners at the school over time, provided that it forms one part of a systemic multi-method assessment approach which takes context and development of the learners into account.