Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Problems with single interest scales: Implications of the general factor

an article by Terence J.G. Tracey (Arizona State University, Tempe, USA) published in Journal of Vocational Behavior Volume 81 Issue 3 (December 2012)


The presence of the general factor in interest and self-efficacy assessment and its meaning are reviewed.

The general factor is found in all interest and self-efficacy assessment and has been viewed as:
  1. a nuisance factor with little effect on assessment,
  2. a variable having substantive meaning and thus worthy of including in interpretation, and
  3. as systematic bias that distorts the interpretation of the meaning of assessments.
The premise of this article is that each interpretation is correct but only depending upon the context of the assessment. The main implication is that narrow single content interest scales are very subject to contaminating effects of the general factor making interpretation very difficult.

Methods of correcting this contamination are presented.


► The general factor is present in all interest and self-efficacy measurement.
► The general factor is nuisance, has meaning or is bias depending upon context.
► Narrow interest scales are subject to systematic bias.
► Only by ipsatizing narrow interest scales can valid interpretations result.

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