The construct and predictive validity of Beggs’ developing cognitive abilities test among junior secondary school students in Ondo State
The study determined the construct validity of the Developing Cognitive Abilities Test (DCAT) and established its consistency among secondary school students. It also investigated the predictive ability of the test on students’ performance and compared the predictive strength of DCAT subsets on Mathematics and English Language. These were with a view to determining the suitability of DCAT for junior secondary school students in Ondo State. The study adopted survey design. The population for the study comprised junior secondary school students in Ondo State and the study sample consisted of 1,080 students. From each of the three senatorial districts of Ondo State, three Local Government Areas (LGAs) were selected using random sampling technique. Also using simple random sampling, two junior secondary schools were selected from each LGA to make a total of 18 schools. A total of 60 junior secondary III (JSS III) students were again selected from each school using random sampling technique. Two instruments, Beggs’ DCAT and 2008 Ondo State Junior Certificate Examination (OSJCE) questions for Mathematics and English Language were employed for data collection. The DCAT was used to assess the cognitive abilities of students on three cognition levels (basic, application, and critical thinking abilities) while OSJCE questions were used for collecting information on students’ achievement. Data collected were analysed using convergent validity analysis, Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation (r) and simple regression statistics. The results showed that students’ DCAT scores significantly converged with OSJCE Mathematics scores (r = 0.13, p<.05), while it was only students’ verbal subset of DCAT scores that converged with English language (r = 0.67, p<.05). This implies that for Mathematics, DCAT has construct validity but not so for English Language (r = 0.07). The results also showed the consistency of DCAT with test-retest reliability coefficient estimate of r = 0.99, and a split half reliability coefficient estimate of r = 0.92. Furthermore, the results showed that students’ score in DCAT significantly predicted their performance in Mathematics (𝛃 = 0.517, p<.05). However, students’ DCAT score did not significantly predict students’ performance in English Language (𝛃 = 0.003, p>.05). The results also showed that with regression lines Y= 0.190x + 0.721x – 145x + 11.878 and Y= 0.074x – 0.055x – 0.027x + 15.295, a unit increase in verbal ability led to a significant 19.0% and 7.4% increase in Mathematics and English language respectively and that while a unit increase in quantitative ability led to a significant 72.1% increase in students’ performance in mathematics, it led to a non-significant 5.5% decrease in English language. The study concluded that due to the high construct validity and reliability of DCAT, it was suitable for use among junior secondary school students in Ondo State in some subjects more than in others.