The Computers in Education Questionnaire

An Otago University honours student used a short survey to assess the attitudes of selected Dunedin high school principals regarding the incorporation of microcomputers in classrooms. This she did in 1985, when personal computers were starting to make their way into education. At that time some people said that all students should be "computer literate"; some educators maintained that computers could also be used as very effective learning and teaching aids. There was a cry to get them into classrooms.


The questionnaire's items are shown below. Principals responded on a five-point Likert scale, going from Strongly Disagree on the left, to Disagree, to Undecided, to Agree, to Strongly Agree on the right. When their responses were coded into Excel, digits were used, from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree).




Computers are valuable tools which can be used to improve the quality of education.


Computers should be used by schools more than they are now.


A school system should buy all other educational materials before purchasing computers.


A computer is an unnecessary luxury in most schools.


Computers are of little value in education because they can be used to teach just one or two subjects.


Computers are a danger because they dehumanize teaching.


Computers are of little value in the classroom because they are too difficult to use.


Computers provide motivation for students to learn.


All students should learn how to use computers.


Computers in schools have an adverse effect on students.



When the responses were entered into Excel, they looked like this:




The honours student was interested in the responses on a question-by-question basis. Importantly, she also wanted to add the item responses together so that she would have a scale score, which she proposed to refer to as the "CEQ scale".


If Lertap is to be used to process results, a CCs worksheet is required in order to tell Excel how to do the job. The following CCs sheet was created by the student.




The first CCs line, *col, tells Excel that responses are to be found starting in column 2 (c2) of the Data worksheet, ending in column 11.


The second line, *sub, is required whenever the data are from a survey or questionnaire. "aff" is a Lertap control "word" which means "affective" -- surveys and questionnaires are said to be affective instruments, working in the "affective domain" (as opposed to the "cognitive domain"; search the internet for definitions of these terms).


The third line, *pol, has four + signs, and six - signs, one sign for each of the 10 items. These indicate the "polarity" of each item: if an item is a positive statement, such as that seen in the first question, its entry on the *pol line will be (naturally) a +. On the other hand, negative statements, such as that seen in the last question, have a - sign (you guessed it!). *pol lines are not always required; if all questions have the same "polarity", *pol is not needed. If there is no desire to add the item responses together to get a scale score, then *pol is not needed.


*pol lines effectively reverse-score negative questions. In this example, a response of Strongly Disagree to an item is coded as a 1 in the Data worksheet. If this item has a - entry in the *pol line, then the 1 will be converted to a 5 before the item response is added in as part of the scale score. If a principal strongly agrees with the first question, and strongly disagrees with the last, he, or she, will get 5 + 5 scoring points. Had the last item not been reversed, then the scoring points would be 5 + 1.


Scoring the item responses in this manner is meant to produce a CEQ scale score with high scores indicating a positive attitude towards the use of computers in schools. A principal who strongly agrees to the positive items, and strongly disagrees to the negative items, will end up with a score of 50. A principal who strongly disagrees to the positive items, and strongly agrees to the negative items, will end up with a score of 10.


The next topic gets into getting Lertap to produce some results.