An Investigation of Primary School Children with High and Low Values Scores and the Development of an Instrument to Measure Children's Values
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Values education is often controversial, reflecting contradictory but deeply held beliefs by different sections of society as to what are core human values. This study has focused on the issues surrounding the development of an instrument suitable to measure children's multidimensional values profiles. A review of the literature identifies a gap, both in the availability of instruments suitable to measure the values profiles of primary school students, and in the documentation of the different characteristics of students with a low values profile score compared with students with a high values profile score. Consequently, the aim of this research was to; (i) develop an instrument (Children's Values Profile) to measure children's self-perceptions of values, (ii) apply measures of validity and reliability to the instrument, (iii) identify both exploratory and confirmatory factors inherent in the instrument, (iv) construct a short, screening version of the Children's Values Profile, and (v) explore the characteristics possessed by children who gain high scores on the Children's Values Profile compared with children who gain low scores on the instrument. The eventual instrument contained 95 items across seven dimensions; emotional intelligence, self-expression, school climate, student behaviour, world-view, social skills, and self-concept. The profile was normed on a sample of 848 students from Years 4 to 7 from a sample of Independent primary schools across a range of socio-economic status groups in South Australia and Queensland. Validity tests confirm that the Children's Values Profile has concurrent validity and the instrument achieved a Cronbach's Alpha coefficient of 0.94 and reliability correlations around 0.60. The results support the notion that children's values formation can be influenced by socio-economic status factors and gender. In terms of gender, girls recorded higher scores for the dimensions of social skills, school climate and world view, while boys recorded higher scores for areas associated with physical activity, mathematics, friendships with boys, and doing things 'to gain rewards'. An important element of the current study was the comparison of the characteristics of students with high values profile scores with students with low values profile scores. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative procedures it was identified that students with low values profile scores had fewer friendships, featured low in peer selection for games and tasks, had poor to average social competence according to teachers' ratings, had low social comprehension skills, and were over represented by boys who utilised fewer abstract and inferential thinking skills. In comparison, children with high values profile scores as a group had greater gender balance, and these students had a wide circle of friends, were reported to be leaders, were highly competent socially, appeared to participate in, and to value, strong social contacts, and to utilise more abstract and inferential thinking skills. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted resulting in the construction of a parsimonious shorter screening version of the instrument. It is proposed that the Children's Values Profile will fill a gap in the provision of instruments suitable to measure the multidimensionality of primary school children's values profiles. The instrument should assist school personnel design and assess values education programs for individuals, cohorts of students, and schools.
Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Doctor of Education (EdD)
School of Cognition, Language and Special Education
Item Access Status
Primary School students