[French version of TASTE (test for the ability and evaluation)]

A M Masson, M Cadot, A M Pereira, E Depreeuw, M Ansseau
L'Encéphale 2001, 27 (6): 527-38
Ability to study and evaluation is only one example of performance among many others but research and publications concerning this issue for more than 50 years, especially in the context of test anxiety and need of achievement, conferred upon it a prototypical dimension. Investigations about motivation also stimulate many scientists and constitute another foundation of this study (13). The level of performance depends on knowledge and motivation (33). Time devoted to study is essential to succeed; so motivation and procrastination are in competition. The importance of reinforcement (extrinsical motivation) and the desire for learning and knowing (intrinsical motivation) are determinant. Other elements must be emphasized: guarantee of obtaining rewards, self efficacy and causal attribution. These considerations point out the multidimensional and interactive aspects of test anxiety (7, 31). The number of components is not described unanimously but experts agree with emotional, cognitive and behavioral dimensions (25). So, anxiety was approached in its motivational properties, and it was the case until the sixties, in terms of drive corresponding to a need like thirst or hunger (18); then it was conceptualized in a dynamic context broader than that of stress and coping (29, 30). Last, it constitutes the object of theories highlighting cognitive interference (9, 23, 26) or defective skills (8, 32). A lot of questionnaires were built without answering the different aspects and for instance without linking the theoretical and therapeutic components concerning this problem. Committed to the traditional fields of research (test anxiety and need of achievement), to Weiner's work about attribution theory (34) and that of Bandura in self efficacy (4, 5), E. Depreeuw (10) was particularly interested in Heckhausen's model (16, 17), trying to associate experimental conceptions with the clinical reality. On this basis, he elaborated the TASTE (10, 12, 20): test for ability to study and evaluation. At first constituted of 121 items, the self-questionnaire, after factorial analysis, was reduced to 78 items assessing 4 factors which represent the 8 components of Heckhausen's model (16). The first factor (30 items) concerns anxiety in its emotional and cognitive characteristics. Interesting data were observed by Depreeuw and confirmed in the Netherlands and in Greece (19), especially the fact that anxiety of girls is higher than that of boys when they are confronted with an exam. The second one (19 items) represents self-confidence: confidence in ability to succeed and on using adequate strategies. The third factor (14 items) squared with value attributed to performance. It especially comments on the intrinsical component of motivation. The fourth factor (15 items) corresponds to procrastination; study is postponed on behalf of activities which actually reduce the achievement process. The self-report questionnaire (where answers run from total disagreement to total agreement whether they correspond to the way of thinking or acting) takes account of the emotional, cognitive and behavioral dimensions of the model. The multidimensional aspect of this questionnaire, but mainly its connections with theory and clinic, are convincing; we adopted it with other tests in research about fear of failure. Validation of the French translation is the subject of this article. In order to realize this operation, we chose the initial version of TASTE (121 items) to assess a Belgian sample of french-speaking students in the first year of University of Liège (n = 617). They are differentiated by gender, faculty (Economy, Medicine, Philosophy, Psychology, Applied Sciences) and experience of failure, i.e. the fact of repeating a school year. Statistics were realized with SPSS and SAS. A comprehension test and a back translation are satisfactory. The stability over time too: the one week test-retest was achieved with a sample of 33 student nurses; comparing the factors two by two, intra-class correlations ranged from 0.5 to 0.95. The component analysis with Varimax rotation does not allow us to find the four factors of construction. We obtain the same disappointing results with the version of 78 items. According to the screentest, we adopted the solution of five factors which confirms the original construction. A fifth particularly strong factor (Cronbach's alpha 0.82) corresponds to devalorisation. The internal reliability is very satisfactory. If we consider the items strong loading (more than 0.30), the French version is constituted of 94 items. If we consider the items which are specifically loading each factor, we can reduce the questionnaire to 50 items. Internal reliability remains the same. Correlations between the data obtained with this brief version are satisfactory; comparing the factors in pairs. Pearson's coefficients range from 0.8 to 0.89. The study of E. Depreeuw was realized ten years ago with a Belgian sample of Flemish-speaking students; is the cultural context or an evolution in test anxiety which explains such a difference in the results? We are now assessing a sample in another country which used the TASTE in 1996 in order to have some information about comparison of samples. In any case, the questionnaire of E. Depreeuw respects the multidimensional aspect of test anxiety. Our choice of 5 factors according to principal components confirms the original structure of the test but also discriminates another factor which could be predictive of psychopathology (panic, depression). This new dimension measures negative perception of ability and achievement especially when compared with other students. One aim of such a study is to discern clusters of students i.e. groups of students with characteristics such as Covington (7), Depreeuw (20) and Zeidner (35) describe them. This description is very important; the French version is only a part of a very broader study including other tests and could differentiate student's profiles. The French version of 5 factors finally gives results in agreement with the original. The items (10 per factor) are selected according to their highest specificity and after elimination of redundancy. Validity remains in the short version, making it more useful in clinical practice.

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