Making Choices: The Development of an Assessment Procedure

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The purpose of this study was to develop an instrument for the assessment of children's understanding of processes involved in the formulation of goals, making choices, and the role of own responsibility in making choices (i. e., planning components). In the first study, a list of concepts consisting of 54 items was presented to 83 children (mean ages 10.9 and 13.9 years). Principal component analyses resulted in a list – called “Cost and Profit Concepts List” – consisting of 22 items with a three-factor structure. The factors referred to children's understanding of processes involved in making choices between goals and alternative strategies to attaining goals and their own responsibility in making choices. In the second study, the instrument was presented to 174 children divided into three age groups (mean ages 8.7, 10.8, and 13.7 years). An identical factor structure for the 22 items was found. Internal consistency reached .68. Significant age differences were present for each factorial dimension. Girls evidenced an earlier understanding than boys of the role of their own responsibility in making choices. These findings indicate that the “Cost and Profit Concepts List” is an adequate assessment instrument for children's understanding of components of planning and discriminates sufficiently between age groups.

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