Measuring children's participation from the perspectives of parents and teachers: Rasch analysis of the ACHIEVE assessment
Crowe, M. (2017) Measuring children's participation from the perspectives of parents and teachers: Rasch analysis of the ACHIEVE assessment, no. 301.
Background - One of the most significant changes within healthcare practice and research is a shift from ‘treating’ disability at the level of body function to an ecological approach that addresses the children’s involvement in everyday life, conceptualised as participation. Participation encompasses children’s involvement across home, school and community settings. A complex interaction of personal characteristics, performance skills and environmental factors influence children’s participation. Therefore, assessments that comprehensively and ecologically capture children’s participation and contributory factors are important. Gathering information from parents and teachers may enhance the accuracy of information. Of the currently available assessments, few include multiple informants and provide an overarching portrait of the child’s participation across all settings. The ACHIEVE Assessment is one that does and forms the focus of this work. Methods - Services from across Scotland agreed to participate in the research by implementing the ACHIEVE Assessment and inviting parents to consent to use of their child’s information. Rasch modelling was used to analyse the ACHIEVE Assessment. Parent and teacher questionnaires were also compared. Results – The study includes a large clinical sample ranging in age from 4-17 years old, with an average age of 8 years. The results from the study demonstrate that the ACHIEVE Assessment provides unidimensional measurement of children’s participation and contributory factors. The environment items measure a separate latent trait and are too easy for respondents to endorse. Parent and teacher questionnaires fit on the same dimension. However, self-care and social skills items differ in function between respondents. In addition, there is a low correlation between parent and teacher questionnaires. Overall, items relating to children’s participation in activities are easier than items about contributory factors. Process skills items are the hardest to endorse, despite the sample predominantly including children referred for reasons related to motor difficulties. Items about children’s school activities are relatively harder than items about community activities. Finally, item function differs for children in the youngest age group. Conclusion – Using Rasch analysis allowed exploration of the complexity of factors that interact to influence children’s participation as captured by the ACHIEVE Assessment. The study demonstrates the measurement qualities of the participation items on the ACHIEVE Assessment, however the environment items require further development as a separate measure. The item hierarchy emphasises the importance of further investigating the association between children’s process skills and their participation, in addition to research in the area of school participation. As there are only weak associations between parent and teacher reports, one is not substitutable for the other and multi-informant assessment will be an important strategy for gathering comprehensive information about children’s participation.