Cross-national measurement of school learning environments: Creating indicators for evaluating UNICEF’s Child Friendly Schools Initiative

Godfrey, E.B., Osher, D., Williams, L.D., Wolf, S., Berg, J.K., Torrente, C., Spier, E., & J.L. Aber.
Children and Youth Services Review, 34(3): 546-557

The present study examines the psychometric properties of a student-reported measure of school quality, the CFS Conditions for Learning Survey, to examine its utility as a cross-national comparative measure to evaluate UNICEF's Child Friendly Schools initiative. Factor analyses conducted on data from fifth- and sixth-grade students in 68 schools across the Philippines, Nicaragua, and South Africa revealed a core set of items that loaded highly onto each of the three dimensions of the CFS Conditions for Learning survey across all three countries. Formal tests established measurement invariance for a subset of these items, indicating that they were free from methodological bias across countries. However, meaningful differences in the country-specific structure and substantive interpretation of school quality were also detected. The results suggest that items in the CFS Conditions for Learning survey can be used to create both reliable cross-national and country-specific indicators of school quality and provide a blueprint for future psychometric work in the field of comparative child and family policy.

Wagner Faculty