Citekey: @darkenwald1988assessment

Darkenwald GG and Hayes ER (1988). “Assessment of adult attitudes towards continuing education.” International journal of lifelong education, 7(3), pp. 197-204.



Most definitions of attitude are similar to that proposed by Gagne and Briggs (1974: 62):’An internal state which affects an individual’s choice of action toward some object, person, or event’. Little wonder, then, that the construct of ‘attitude’ occupies a central place in current theory on participation in continuing (or adult) education (Cross 1981;Darkenwald and Merriam 1982; Houle1984; Rubenson 1977). Attitudes are deemed important not only in affecting adults’ participation in education, but also in determining their support of continuing education programmes in the community and workplace. (p. 2)

Measuring attitudes (p. 2)

Attitude measures (usually scales) are often poor predictors of behaviour. (p. 2)

Rokeach(1968)formulated theso-calledtwo-attitudetheory,whichhasgainedincreasing acceptance by attitude researchers. In brief, Rokeach postulates that social behaviour is affected by twotypes of attitude: attitude towards an object (Ao) and attitude towards the situation in which the object is encountered (As). (p. 2)

Attitude towards an object has not,by itself, been found to exhibit a consistent relationship with behaviour. Attitude towards the situation must also be measured (within the same scale) if the A-Bcorrespondence is to be maximized. (p. 2)

Seaman and Schroeder (1970), in one of the few studies of adult attitudes towards continuing education, found no relationship between attitudes and educational participation. (p. 3)

Blunt (1983) contracted a new Thurstone scale to measure attitudes towards adult education. He found small but significant correlations between attitude and years of schooling, social participation, socio-economic status, internal-external locus of control, and participation in adult learning activities. (p. 3)

The principal objective of this study was to develop a valid and reliable instrument to measure adults’ attitudes towards continuing education. (p. 3)

An attitude was defined according to Rokeach (1968:112) as ‘a relatively enduring organization of beliefs around an object or situation predisposing one to respond in some preferential manner’. (p. 4)

Attitude scale (p. 4)

The first step in the construction of the Adult Attitudes Toward Continuing Education Scale (AACES) was the creation of an item pool. (p. 4)

Thirty items were retained for a pilot instrument. (p. 4)

The pilot scale was completed by 93 adult volunteers of diverse sociodemographic make-up. (p. 4)

The final form of AACES has 22 items on a five point Likert scale. Seven items (as many as deemed pertinent) represent attitude-to-situation; the remaining items measure attitude-to-object. (p. 4)

Behavioural index (p. 5)

Consequently, a four-item Yes/No Bl was constructed. The first three items enquired about current participation, frequency of participation, and past participation; the last asked respondents if they had ‘ever suggested to another adult that he or she participate in some form of continuing education’. (p. 5)

The evidence presented above indicates that AACES is a valid and reliable unidimensional measure of adult attitudes towards continuing education. (p. 7)

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