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Multi-group confirmatory factor analysis (MGCFA) allows researchers to determine whether a research inventory elicits similar response patterns across samples. If statistical equivalence in responding is found, then scale score comparisons become possible and samples can be said to be from the same population. This paper illustrates the use of MGCFA by examining survey results relating to practising teachers' conceptions of feedback in two very different jurisdictions (Louisiana, USA, n = 308; New Zealand, n = 518), highlighting challenges which can occur when conducting this kind of cross-cultural research. As the two contexts had very different policies and practices around educational assessment, it was considered possible that a common research inventory may elicit non-equivalent responding, leading to non-invariance. Independent models for each group and a joint model for all participants were tested for invariance using MGCFA and all were inadmissible for one of the two groups. Inspection of joint model differences in item loadings, scale reliabilities, and scale inter-correlations established the extent of non-invariance. This paper discusses the implications of non-invariance within this particular study and identifies difficulties in using an inventory in cross-cultural settings. It also provides suggestions about how to increase the likelihood that a common factor structure can be recovered.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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