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Measurement invariance of inventory of school motivation between the United States and Chinese college students

Xu, Lihua
Scope and Method of Study: The study was to test measurement equivalence of the Inventory of School Motivation (ISM) between American and Chinese college students. To achieve this, an eight-factor model was tested for comparability across the two cultural groups using both single-group confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and multigroup confirmatory factor analysis. In addition, contingent upon the degree of invariance, cross-cultural comparisons of latent means were conducted.
Findings and Conclusions: Results of CFA showed that the eight-factor model fit each cultural group was a borderline fit, yet deemed acceptable as indicated by various model fit indices. Results of multi-group CFA showed the subscales of Effort, Social Concern, Affiliation, and Praise have configural, metric and scalar invariance. The Task subscale has configural and metric invariance. Subscales of Competition, Social Power and Token did not show configural invariance. Therefore, the ISM did not perform equivalently cross-culturally. Results of cross-cultural latent mean comparisons indicate that Chinese participants scored significantly higher than American peers on the latent constructs Effort and Social Concern. The two groups did not show significant differences on Affiliation. American participants scored significantly higher than Chinese counterparts on Praise. Findings support the need to establish measurement equivalence prior to interpreting differences in means between culturally diverse groups.