The Journal of Social Psychology, 1975, 95, 135-136.


University of New South Wales, Australia


There have been many Likert-type scales used in studies of achievement motivation. Of the 41 known to the present author, none have been demonstrated to be at once reliable, valid, balanced against acquiescent set, and applicable to nonstudent samples.

At least one of these scales was designed from the beginning to be satisfactory in terms of all four criteria. It is the Ray-Lynn "AO" scale. It is therefore desired to set on record here the details of this scale's construction.

The initial item-pool for the scale (1) contained only items phrased as direct questions about the respondent's behavior (to be answered "Yes," "?" or "No"). Myers (2) has shown that this format can produce a scale with remarkably high validity. (Myers' own scale was, regrettably, quite student-specific.)

The 56-item pool was administered to a group of 120 Australian Army conscripts. These are a highly heterogeneous group. All 20-year-old males resident in Australia were at the time liable for selective call-up on a randomized basis.

A reduced 30-item scale was produced which showed a quite satisfactory reliability (Coefficient "alpha") of .78. Of these 30 items, 13 were negatively worded. The items of this scale and details of their scoring are given elsewhere. (3)

The validity of the new scale was examined by having students administer it to people they knew-under the constraint that half the final sample were to be in manual occupations and half in nonmanual occupations. It was thus hoped to encompass a wide spread of responses and make the validity demonstration applicable across socioeconomic differentials. The final n for this sample was 70. To provide validity criteria, each subject was rated by the person who gave him the questionnaire. The use of peer or supervisor ratings as a criterion for validity is of course common practice in many applied fields, such as industrial psychology. It has the effect of treating the rater as an accumulating data bank about the subject which can be tapped to provide a picture of the subject's behavior in general.

High scorers on the new "AO" scale were found, then, to be rated as "Task oriented" (r = .261; p < .025), not "Lackadaisical" (r = -.245; p < .025), and not "Leisure oriented" (r = -.218; p < .05).

Predictive validity was also demonstrated: with occupational status as a criterion of actual achievement, a correlation between this and scores on the "AO" scale of .391 was found. Overall, then, some validity for the new scale has been demonstrated. The reliability of the scale on the second sample held up well at .76.

It is shown then that all four criteria initially suggested for a satisfactory scale in this area have been met to at least some degree by the Ray-Lynn "AO" scale.

(1) Many of these items were devised and kindly made available by Prof. R. Lynn.

(2) Myers, A. E. Risk taking and academic success and their relation to an objective measure of achievement motivation. Educ. & Psychol. Meas. 1965, 25, 355-363.

(3) Ray, J.J. (1970) Christianism.... The Protestant ethic among unbelievers. J. Christian Education, 13, 169-176.

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