Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the School Level Environment Questionnaire (SLEQ)

Johnson, Bruce; Stevens, Joseph J.
September 2001
Learning Environments Research;2001, Vol. 4 Issue 3, p325
Academic Journal
The purpose of the present study was to validate an existing school environment instrument, the School Level Environment Questionnaire (SLEQ). The SLEQ consists of 56 items, with seven items in each of eight scales. One thousand, one hundred and six (1106) teachers in 59 elementary schools in a southwestern USA public school district completed the instrument. An exploratory factor analysis was undertaken for a random sample of half of the completed surveys. Using principal axis factoring with oblique rotation, this analysis suggested that 13 items should be dropped and that the remaining 43 items could best be represented by seven rather than eight factors. A confirmatory factor analysis was run with the other half of the original sample using structural equation modeling. Examination of the fit indices indicated that the model came close to fitting the data, with goodness-of-fit (GOF) coefficients just below recommended levels. A second model was then run with two of the seven factors, with their associated items removed. That left five factors with 35 items. Model fit was improved. A third model was tried, using the same five factors with 35 items but with correlated residuals between some of the items within a factor. This model seemed to fit the data well, with GOF coefficients in recommended ranges. These results led to a refined, more parsimonious version of the SLEQ that was then used in a larger study. Future research is needed to see if this model would fit other samples in different elementary schools and in secondary schools both in the USA and in other countries.


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