Applying the Rasch rating scale model to the just sustainability attitude scale
Wells, Andrew McMahan
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In an era of increasing concern about global anthropogenic climate change scholars have called on researchers and administrators in higher education to take responsibility for student learning about the social and environmental implications of their daily decisions (A. Cortese, 2003, 2012; University Presidents for a Sustainable Future, 1990). Although student affairs administrators have not completely embraced the environmental literacy and activism as standards for professional competency, the two national associations for student affairs administrators have articulated social justice as a core commitment and professional standard (American College Personnel Association & National Association for Student Personnel Administrators, 2015). In this study, the author applied the Just Sustainability Paradigm (Agyeman, 2005, 2013) to research and assessment in a student affairs context. The Just Sustainability Paradigm synthesizes environmental and social justice issues by identifying the historical (Chavis & Lee, 1987) and contemporary (Agyeman, Bullard, & Evans, 2002; D. Taylor, 2000) intersections of race, class, and environmental injustice. This environmental paradigm echoes the social justice values espoused in student affairs professional standards and incorporates the lens of environmental justice. The purpose of this study was to apply this environmental paradigm to the development of a survey instrument for quantitative research and assessment in student affairs in higher education. By developing and reporting on the psychometric properties of the 40-item Just Sustainability Attitude Scale and its four component 10-item subscales, the author demonstrated in this study that the instrument demonstrates strong reliability coefficients and content validity, supporting its use in future research and assessment activities. Using the Rasch Rating Scale model, the researcher determined the full 40-item instrument demonstrated good separation of students (), and items ), indicating the separation and ordering of items by measurement value is meaningful. Based on these properties, the author recommends future investigation of student attitudes toward environmental justice using the construct developed by Agyeman (2005, 2013) and operationalized in this instrument.