The development and validation of a developmental history questionnaire as a screening instrument for pre-schoolers




Ross, Mary J.

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This study was conducted to develop and validate a developmental history questionnaire as a possible screening instrument for pre-schoolers. The specific objectives of this study were to (a) determine which etiological correlates occur in conjunction with learning disabilities, (b) establish a scoring procedure using the weighted scale technique described by Kelly (1934), (c) determine the per cent overlap of the particular and general group, (d) employ the procedure described by Darlington and Stauffer (1966) to choose a cutting point on the questionnaire which would differentiate between children with learning difficulties and those without them, (e) use the Meehle and Rosen (1955) formula to determine the overall efficiency of the questionnaire in identifying the groups. The questionnaire was distributed to 2365 students. A letter to the mother was enclosed and she was requested to complete the questionnaire and to return it within one week. An average return rate of 6~/o yielded 1231 complete and acceptable forms. Two hundred and twenty-five questionnaires or 9.5¾ were discarded for various reasons. Responses to the questionnaires were recorded on International Business Machine data cards for computer scoring and analysis. The first step in the analysis was to determine the weight of each item on the questionnaire. Having determined this, Tilton's procedure (1938) was used to determine the percentage of overlap of the scales. This was found to be 9~/o for the males (Particular group, N = 199; General group, N = 455), 97% for the females (Particular group, N = 121; General group, N = 456), and 81¾ when the males and females were combined (Particular group, N = 320; General group, N = 911). All subsequent analyses involving the establishment of a cutting score and the determination of the efficiency of the questionnaire were based on the combined male, female groups which yielded an~ of 320 for the particular group and an~ of 911 for the general group. The cutting score was found to be 8.2287 and using this to determine the overall efficiency of the questionnaire, an efficiency index of 25.9951¾ was obtained. The analysis of the data indicate that the developmental history questionnaire, at its present stage of development, is such that clinical usage for diagnostic or predictive purposes would not be appropriate. The results of this study indicate a need for further research to identify and control relevant variables.



Learning disabilities, Child development, Child behavior