The development of a school readiness test for use with pre-school children in the Lebanon
This study aimed at developing a Lebanese preschool instrument, a Lebanese preschool readiness test that can reliably, accurately, and rapidly identify children who are ready for preschool. Collecting norms and establishing the psychometric properties of the instrument was another major function of this study. To fulfil these functions a thorough review of the literature on preschool screening, preschool instruments, preschool child, and early childhood education was presented. In addition, interviews were conducted with a representative sample of preschool teachers and coordinators in Lebanon, and a clear definition of abilities that need to be assessed before admission was reached. Based on this needs assessment, test specifications were laid down, items were constructed, materials prepared, and directions for administration and scoring were written. The initial version of the test was piloted on a sample of 50 Lebanese children of both sexes aged 2.6 to 5.0. Based on the results of the pilot survey, test items were analyzed, and subsequently some items were revised. The final version of the test appeared with 122 items divided into four major scales: Motor, Memory, Concept, and Language. The test was then normed on a sample of 250 Lebanese children aged 2.6 - 5.0 enrolled (or applying) to large institutions repre~entative of preschool population in Beirut and reflecting three socioeconomic levels (i.e. high, middle, and low). Norms were reported in the form of standardized scores and percentiles. T. and F. tests revealed that the subjects' means significantly varied by age, but that no significant sex differences were noted on the major scales (M, Me, L, & C), but that significant socio-economic differences were noted on the Language scale. The reliability of the instrument was assessed by computing its alpha coefficient, and the obtained r (0.90) spoke well for the internal stability of the LPRT. Finally, the criterion validity of the LPRT was established by correlating subjects' scores with end of the year teacher ratings, and with their score on another preschool screening instrument, the DIAL R. In addition, and concurrent with the development of the test, other validity questions (content, construct) were also answered.