An examination of the psychometric properties of the Student-Teacher Relationship Scale (STRS) in Turkish first-grade settings
For most Turkish children, entry into first grade is their first formal schooling experience. Understanding how children negotiate this new experience and documenting the relationships that they build with teachers is crucial, considering that early teacher–child relationships have important long-term implications for children's school success (Hamre & Pianta, 2001). However, there is insufficient research about early childhood education in Turkey (Bekman, 1999), and there is a need for new measurement tools to examine different dimensions of early childhood education processes, inputs, and outcomes. In this study, I addressed this gap by focusing on the measurement of early teacher–student relations in Turkish first-grade classrooms. The study was conducted in 6 public school in Istanbul. Using a sample of urban public school Turkish children (N=267) and teachers (N=15), I assessed the psychometric characteristics of the Student-Teacher Relationship Scale (STRS; Pianta, 2001), a measure that has been widely used with Western samples. The translation was conducted and evaluated by the author and a group of five qualified translators who were native speakers of Turkish and who also were fluent in English. In addition, I examined: (a) the relationships between children's behavioral orientations and the quality of teacher–child relationships; (b) the relationships between children's social skills and academic competence and the quality of teacher–child relationship. (c) the cultural sensitivity of the STRS through an analysis of the distinctiveness of each of the three STRS factors; and (d) the extent to which the addition of culturally sensitive items to the STRS dependency scale improves the psychometric qualities of this scale. Exploratory factor analysis supported a three-dimensional structure (comprising Conflict, Closeness, and Dependency) for both the original 28- and the enhanced 31-item versions of the STRS. As hypothesized, Turkish first grade teachers perceived Dependency positively in contrast to their colleagues in the USA. Children with high ratings on relational conflict with teachers were also perceived as more behaviorally deviant and less competent socially and academically. The reverse trend was identified for children with high ratings on relational closeness and dependency.
Mantzicopoulos, Purdue University.
Educational evaluation|Early childhood education|Elementary education|Quantitative psychology
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