Assessment Tools for the Affective Domain

Several assessment tools designed for measuring some aspect of the affective domain are listed below. For each assessment tool, you will find information about what the assessment measures and how the author uses it. You will also find the tool itself.

Survey of Student Comfort Levels with Math & Science

Submitted by LeeAnn Srogi, West Chester University of PA

What does this assessment measure?

Students' self-reported experiences and comfort level with previous math and science courses.

Briefly describe how you use this assessment tool.

This survey was created for an introductory-level, interdisciplinary science course for elementary education majors. I have used it in other intro-level science courses, as well. It is helpful for getting a sense of students' attitudes and previous experiences with math and science. It helps me to get a sense of the students' expectations for the course, based on their experiences—this could even be another question that could be added to the survey. I use the survey information to form heterogeneous groups of students, with a range of interests, experiences, and comfort levels in math and science. Mostly these are groups that would work together in lab.

The survey is administered the first day of class. Information is used to group students into heterogeneous groups with a range of comfort levels with math and science. We could also use the information to track changes in attitude, when students report this in the journal they keep for the course.

Student survey handout (Microsoft Word 26kB Feb5 07)

Science Situations Questionnaire

submitted by Eric J. Pyle, James Madison University

What does this assessment measure?

This instrument is targeted at middle school students, designed to determine the relative strengths of their attributions in specific science settings. With respect to internal attributions, the variables are connectedness to peers, autonomy, and competence. With respect to external attributions, the variables are relatedness to adults or more capable peers, perceptions of support for their autonomy, and personal agency in controlling alternative outcomes, or effectance. Each of the six variables is represented in the context of a specific science learning or engagement opportunity. A series of brief vignettes are presented, each followed by a series of six statements in a Likert format, asking respondents to indicate their likelihood of responding in a manner similar to the statement. Data are then aggregated by variable and by vignette content area.

Briefly describe how you use this assessment tool.

The original instrument was developed as a part of my doctoral dissertation in 1995. At the time, field testing of the much smaller instrument yielded internal reliability values (Cronbach's alpha) of up to 0.86. Currently, this instrument is in an advanced prototype stage, having been much expanded and recently been converted into an online format. This was necessary as the logistics of field-testing the instrument (getting it to schools, recording the data, minimizing impact during the school day) proved to be difficult. With the easy availability of online survey technology, however, the instrument is now ready for a full field test, and several middle school teachers have indicated an interest in having their students participate.

The main idea is that with these data, an instructor or teacher would be able to better tailor the delivery of content to the motivational profile of their students. For instance, if a group of students indicated a strong interest in personal autonomy for a particular domain, instructional delivery in a teacher-centered, control-oriented manner would be incompatible. Furthermore, if a group of students were relatively uninterested in alternative outcomes, then instructional time need not emphasize these, unless there was a specific need to do so. Advance knowledge of this gap would be useful in planning the time required to achieve such goals.

As stated, however, this instrument is targeted at a much younger audience. It is my interest in adapting this instrument to more advanced students, in high school Earth science as well as introductory geology classes. Furthermore, as the vignettes cover a broad range of science domains, I am also interested in developing vignettes specific to the Earth sciences.

The instrument can be accessed at:

You are welcome to try it out, or better still, ask adolescents you know to try it out. It is somewhat long at this point!

Questionnaire to measure indicators for recruitment/retention in geoscience careers

submitted by Miriam Fuhrman, American Institutes for Research

What does this assessment measure?

The instrument is designed to measure changes in attitudes and behaviors related to enhanced likelihood of students remaining in the geosciences career pipeline. These indicators were developed by AIR staff as part of a conceptual framework to enable us to assess the effectiveness of NSF Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG) projects in the short term. The framework is based on a general literature review of STEM college major/career choice by underrepresented minorities and a critical incident study focusing on specific indicators for geoscience career choice (Fuhrman et al; 2004). These geoscience indicators include, for example: attitude toward outdoors activities, ability to work in groups, and geoscience faculty accessibility. The specific indicators assessed in the draft survey are listed in the separate indicator/survey linking document.

Briefly describe how you use this assessment tool.

This instrument is designed for use as a pre- /post-evaluation of an individual workshop, course, or other intervention intended to enhance geoscience career choice. It is based on similar surveys used by OEDG grantees as one way to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs/workshops/courses in encouraging members of under-represented minorities to enter and be retained in a pathway toward a geoscience career.

Customized items can be added to address specific goals of an individual workshop or course—see the optional items at the end of the instrument, for some examples. These items have been designed to measure changes in attitudes and behaviors; so it is important that users administer the exact same items in the pre- and post- versions of the survey. It makes data interpretation difficult when different versions of items are used in pre- and post- versions.

Note that these items are all closed-ended. It may be tempting to add open-ended items, but it streamlines the analysis procedure greatly if as many items as possible are closed-ended. Closed-ended questions can always have a "catch-all" option of : "Other (explain)"..; common "other" answers can then become formal options in subsequent versions of the instrument.

Generic College Questionnaire for Affective Domain (Microsoft Word 209kB Feb9 07)
Instructor notes and information (Microsoft Word 57kB Feb9 07)


Fuhrman, M.; Gonzalez R.; and Levine R. (2004). Developing Short-Term Indicators of Recruitment and Retention in the Geosciences, EOS Trans. AGU 85(47), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract ED21D-02

Perceptions of Instrumentality Scale

submitted by Jenefer Husman, Arizona State University

What does this assessment measure?

Perceptions of Instrumentality. (Husman, Derryberry, Crowson, & Lomax, 2004). This scale consists of two subscales: Endogenous Instrumentality and Exogenous Instrumentality. The Endogenous subscale consists of four items that ask about the utility of learning the course content for future goals (alpha=.73). The Exogenous instrumentality subscale consists of 4 items that ask if receiving a good grade or passing the course will help students achieve their future goals (alpha=.52). Students responded to both subscales on a five point Likert type response from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).

Briefly describe how you use this assessment tool.

Each of the two subscales are summed or averaged. Before calculating the subscale scores four of the eight items, which are negatively worded, need to be recoded. I have used this scale at the beginning and end of a semester to measure change in students PI throughout the semester. The scale can also be used in the middle of the semester to determine the students' mid-semester sense of the importance of the course. I have also determined that the scale is most effective at the course level (rather than at the "chapter" or "topic-of-the-week" level).

Perceptions of Instrumentality Scale (Microsoft Word 26kB Feb27 07)


Husman, J., Derryberry, W. P., Crowson, H. M., & Lomax, R. (2004). Instrumentality, task value, and intrinsic motivation: Making sense of their independent interdependence. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 29, 63-76.

Husman, J., McCann, E. J., & Crowson, H. M. (2000). Volitional strategies and future time perspective: embracing the complexity of dynamic interactions. International Journal of Educational Research., 33, 777-799.

Do you have an example of an assessment method that measures affective goals or outcomes? Please submit your assessment method here.