Cross-Cultural Adaptation of Developmental Criteria for Young Children: A Preliminary Psychometric Study

  •  Faridah Yunus    


Authentic assessment approach applies naturalistic observation method to gather and analyse data about children’s development that are socio-culturally appropriate to plan for individual teaching and learning needs. This article discusses the process of adapting an authentic developmental instrument for children of 3-6 years old. The instrument consists of 217 criteria of development for children between the ages of 36-72 months; grouped under six domains, which are fine motor, gross motor, adaptive, cognitive, socio-communication, and social. It is a criterion measurement tool, which was developed for the American context. This instrument needed to be adapted into the Malay socio-cultural context before it could be applied in local setting. The adaptation process involved directly translating the items; investigating the items/criteria’s score format; examining the items by a panel of experts; observing the real setting to investigate the score patterns and calculating observer agreement index. 103 children from the Malay ethnic group aged between 36-72 months, six field experts, and twelve observers were involved as participants. The researcher and an editor translated all the criteria for development; novice observers carried out a pilot study to test the suitability of score format; six children’s specialists examined the translated criteria; and lastly, the researcher observed activities in the preschool setting to score the criteria in naturalistic manner. The translated criteria, checklists; and developmental scores were analysed through visual and descriptive statistics. Content analyses showed that most of the developmental criteria were suitable to be applied in the research context. However, there are a few criteria considered as not appropriate and scores between observers indicated low agreement on how they interpreted the criteria.

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