Understanding the schooling and literacy beliefs, behaviors, and self-efficacy of early head start parents using confirmatory factor analysis: A pilot survey study


Rebecca Short

Date of Award

Summer 2013




Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership


Educators need to have a better understanding of the home environment of diverse families. The low-income African American population, which is about 70% of the Early Head Start and Head Start population in the state of Georgia, possess and perform nonmainstream beliefs and behaviors that researchers and educators are unaware of and do not value at school (Compton-Lilly, 2009). Therefore, the purpose of this research endeavor was to develop a valid and reliable survey that measures parental behaviors and beliefs in literacy, schooling, and self-efficacy among Early Head Start and Head Start families. Items on the survey were developed to represent the population of EHS and HS families while also obtaining items illustrating significant beliefs and behaviors in the areas of literacy, schooling, and self-efficacy. Focus groups, cognitive interviews, and expert reviews were conducted to answer the first research question: Which items on the survey need to be modified or eliminated to increase content and criterion validity? These methods resulted in a 34-item survey that was further analyzed for factorial validity and reliability during a pilot survey. Analysis of the pilot survey was used to answer the second research question: What is the best fit model to measure parents’ schooling and literacy beliefs, behaviors and self-efficacy? Confirmatory factor analysis and Cronbach’s alpha revealed a valid and fairly reliable 20-item survey. EHS and HS programs can now implement this survey to gain a better understanding of their parents’ beliefs and behaviors regarding literacy, schooling, and self-efficacy. This survey can also be used to enhance curriculum by providing authentic learning experiences and incorporate parents as resources during the learning process.

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